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Siglinda’s Blog

Many of you know me, I am the founder of Goathouse Refuge and I have been working to make it better and better for 22 Years…. I will tell you about my life…. My adventures and misfortunes…. All the animals who traveled part of their life with mine. I hope you enjoy this page and come back often. If you aren’t already a sustainer,  please consider joining us.
Best,
Siglinda

August 31, 2020

Our local newspaper, The Chatham News & Record, did a wonderful article on Siglinda and the Goathouse for this week’s edition.

“A place of love, hope, and art for its owner and inhabitants”
https://www.chathamnewsrecord.com/stories/a-place-of-love-hope-and-art-for-its-owner-and-inhabitants,6458

 


Update on Silginda 9/3/20:Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, table and outdoor
Hi Everyone, we are very happy to let you know that Siglinda is finally out of the hospital and back home resting with all of her furbabies. This picture is her reunion with Cricket. They were so happy to see each other.

We want to thank you all for your continued thoughts, well wishes, prayers, and donations during this difficult season. Siglinda still has a ways to go to recover from such a major surgery and will need some rest and physical therapy. As you know though, attentive and loving pets can help ease the stress and heal the body so we know her animals will help to do their part.

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Update on Siglinda 8/22/20

Hi Everyone, we are very happy to report that Siglinda is finally out of ICU. She is no longer in any pain and is eating better, feeling better, and asking about the cats and dogs and goats and the daily work at the Goathouse. We don’t know how long she will be in the hospital because she is still weak and will need some physical therapy. But Siglinda is deeply grateful for all of the many prayers and well wishes she has gotten and continues to receive. Thank you all so much

 

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Update on Siglinda 8/13/20:
It is with much relief that we can let you know that Siglinda had her surgery this morning and the procedure went well. She is in good condition and of course will be staying in the hospital for several days. We want to thank everyone for your continued prayers and good wishes for her surgery and complete recovery, as well as your support and financial donations. It takes a lot of stress off of Siglinda when she knows that we have the finances coming in to take care of all the cats and the Goathouse expenses each month. We will continue to pass on updates to you as we get them.

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Dear all,

It is with a crazy heart that I have to let you know that on August 13 I will have heart surgery at Duke Hospital. Another adventure!  

No matter what is going to happen, I am here to ask you all to be supportive of the wonderful people who have been working with me for so many years behind the scenes to help all the kitties we could at the Goathouse. If everything goes well I will be in the hospital for 1 week and home after that to recover for at least 2 months. My presence will be sporadic but I will be here and if they didn’t take out my brain, I will read and write as many emails as I can.

Please, be part of the team! Become sustainers! (https://www.goathouserefuge.org/become-a-sustainer/)    Do all you can to help! All these little hearts count on you for their life! There is no job that is “not my job” if you can help, please, do it, I beg you to be present. We count on you all, we all are Goathouse Family!

My kitties and my dogs know that something is happening and they are all over me taking very good care of me. They will be without me for quite a while but they will be very well cared for. If you are out at the refuge, please stop by to see them and give them some extra love. Please, be present, be supportive to our people, anything, anything that you can do is important no matter how small!

Love, and I mean it,
Siglinda

“Courage is grace under pressure.”

 


July 20, 2020

Another chapter of my life:

-surrounding homes, what did people do for a living there,https://cdn.thecrazytourist.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Novara.jpg

Mostly they worked in the small factories or lived and worked on the farms.

 

-your parents included,

My father was in the army, he was the head of the acrobatic air squad of the Italian Aviation. He deserted the army when Mussolini became allied with Hitler. My mom took care of the house and children.

 

-what was the pace of life there?

It was during the war so my mother, my grandfather and uncle were going out during the day to find food and any supply they could get for our lives, punctuated by the airplanes coming to drop bombs or the sirens of the military police rushing through the narrow streets of town. If the bombers would come in the evening my uncle would go on the balcony and shout down the courtyard to shut down the lights and run to the basement and we all would go in the dark humid basement waiting for the bombardment to end and then return to our homes. People always commented on where the bombs hit the town… One summer evening we were at a merry-go-round that was a traveling in an amusement structure that just came in town and the bombers came, everybody ran to the bunker on the square but the people on the chain chairs were left there, with all the lights on and the chairs spinning around. Everybody was very mad at the people who ran away without shutting it down for the people to get off to safety. It was very scary. Fortunately they were not hit but I still feel that terrible fear.  

I was  4 or 5 when I realized there were bad things going on around me. My parents spoke of the war, and our  household became filled with fear when the WWII bomber planes flew overhead, booming through the skies.

My father, left the Italian Army when Mussolini came into power and his negative  writings got the attention of the Gestapo. Their arrival one night in our home, looking for him, left me struck with terror. Their pounding on our door, and the image of their big shoes in front of me, remains a vivid memory to this day. At one point my mother (Maria Giovanna), grandmother (Angelina) (not my grandparents), brother (Sigfrido) and I fled to the mountains and hid (Maybe outside Alagna, but it is a vague memory).

 

-Did you abandon your home when you fled from the Gestapo?

When the Gestapo came to our house I remember their harsh voices and their big boots, As always I was on the floor in the kitchen, with my little brother playing with paper. They came into the kitchen and said they were going to wait for my father to come home. My grandmother was piling potatoes and I could see her hands shaking. At this point my memories are completed by my mother’s and my grandmother’s memories and telling:  My mother was sick in bed, they went into the bedroom to ask her where my father was, then they stayed in the kitchen to wait. In my mother’s bedroom there was a big armoire in front of a back door. My mother pushed the armoire,  got out and went to look for one of my father’s companions that went to tell my father not to go home and then found a car that came to pick us up, my mom, my grandmother and me and my brother, and took us way into the mountains in a little house on the Monte Rosa. I didn’t see my father through the end of the war, but I remember being hungry, cold, and my mother going out, on a bicycle to find food for us and sometime she would go away for 2 or 3 days and would come home with some people that would be hiding in the basement. I learned later that they were Jews that my father and his companions had saved from being brought to the concentration camps. Sometime later someone would come to pick them up and take them to a safe place outside of Italy.  

 


July 4, 2020

Often people ask me where was I born and about my Country, here part of my story… how it began:    https://www.google.com/maps/vt/data=RyvTJI3FA3chu7hoLplEigxU4zToqbRZUGAeq_z20xrT4HkyqKsiQYyG3K_QnYjoVhQiNHFxLrwI3GbfU8luJ2aBmw8iKZ5wsn3iBLZM8UYYAUELq-OnzX31LC6DTS5wlXw3eudoPB4nzwucNM5FrtaR6FHLNZg89DSYeBfkPdBKieHcREE-4npkD4RwtaOo0wWhKeq7NLtRnvorWOxAstChynnFfYBb-mI2XfhOUxnFWx8

I was born in 1940, in Novara, a small town near Milano, but still in Piemonte, where Milano is in Lombardia. Novara was and is a very rich industrial little town, rich because of the small factories that make machinery that make precision clocks or scales or other precision machines for Switzerland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novara#Historic_centre

My mother Maria (Giovanna, her Partisan name that she used for the rest of her life) and my father Sergio (Geo was his Partisan name and Geo he was for the rest of his life for all his comrades) I also had a little brother born 1 1/2 year after me.

The center of town was primarily built in the 1800, the buildings of 5 or 6 floors (a lot of stares to climb with heavy groceries bags) often had internal balconies with metal railings–I use to sit on the floor dangling my feet from the balconies and watching the swallows with their iridescent feathers fly around in the center of the courtyard and making mod nests under the roof tiles–during the war we were living on the top floor of one of those buildings with my great grandparents. The outskirt of town was made of little 2 floor family homes with little vegetable and flower gardens that we could see by climbing the little walls surrounding the properties. And then, the farms: Piemonte is called the granary of Italy because it produces more than 80% of the food for the nation, especially grains (Arborio Rice comes from Novara).

Long, long, cold winters, with a lot of snow and fog. For months at the time we would be walking into clouds without seen anything far from our noses and that gave me a chance to explore my imagination and the joy of getting lost in a cloud!

My home, during the war, was in a building as I described above, the entrance was from the “pianerottolo” landing on top of the stares or from the balcony with access from the French doors into the large kitchen that was the room where the whole family was living and working: My great grandmother would be the first one to get up and start the wood fire in the large stove that was the only source of heat during the winter and the main feature for cooking. She would be using the large rectangular table with magic drawers, one for each one of the family members and job needs, to chop and prepare the food to be placed on the stove to cook. The irons, that would iron the shirts for my uncle and grandfather to go to work, would be on the stove too. I remember going to bed and being so cold the sheet would feel wet, my nose would be dripping and icy and my breath would make little clouds. I would sleep with my head under the blankets… When it was particularly cold my grandmother or my mother would place in my bed a “scaldino” a container of hot coals hanging from a cage-like structure that would keep it safely away from the mattress and the blankets but would allow it to warm up the bed. The rest of the apartment was bedrooms for each member of the family. I particularly loved my grandmothers room because she had a pair of little blown-glass shoes that looked to me like the shoes a princess would wear. Many times I tried to fit into these precious shoes and I even managed not to brake them. My grandmother was a seamstress and she had so many absolutely gorgeous fabrics in her bedroom and all the fashion magazines I totally adored. I spent days after days, going through the magazines without getting bored. The table in the kitchen had a drawer just for her with scissors, needles and threads of all colors, charcoal that she would use to draw a pattern before cutting the fabric. She also had a “manichino” a woman torso in black fabric on a wood post that could turn so she could pin the cloths that she was sawing. she would be sharing the big table with my great grandfather that would be drawing kaleidoscopic stars with various compasses and passing them to me under the table where I was coloring them with pastels that I totally adored. My grandmother would give me little pieces of her precious fabrics and I was making fabulous sculptures or dolls with paper, cardboard and fabrics, always under the big table.  To be continued……

Siglinda

 

– Companion Animals and Us by Anthony Podberscek

348 pages, Cambridge University Press, 2000

“Over the past thirty years there has been a tremendous growth in interest in the multidisciplinary field of human-companion animal interactions and relationships. The increased interest in human-pet relationships is not surprising considering that pets are kept in at least half of the households in Western societies. What is so special about the relationships people have with their pets? Are we very different from our ancestors in the way we feel about animals? What does pet keeping tell us about ourselves and our relationships with people? Can pets be good for our health? Does having pets help promote empathy for other humans? Companion Animals and Us brings together some of the newest research from a wide variety of disciplines including anthropology, history, psychology, sociology, and human and veterinary medicine to explore these and many other questions. This book will provide fascinating reading for anyone interested in understanding more about the human-pet relationships.”


May 29,2020
This poem is very moving. I hope that you will take a moment to read it.

Martha Medeiros is a brazilian writer, author of several books and columnist for the newspaper “Zero Hora”, in Porto Alegre. It was published under the name “A morte devagar” mentioned in the newspaper in November 2000.

 

“DIE SLOWLY” By Martha Medeiros

Dies slowly he who transforms himself into the slave of habit,
repeating every day the same itineraries,
who does not change a brand,
does not risk to wear a new colour and doesn’t talk to whom he doesn’t know.
Dies slowly he who avoids a passion,
who prefers black to white
and the dots on the “i” to the whirlpool of emotions,
just those ones that recover the gleam of the eye,
smiles from the yawns,
hearts from the stumbling and the feelings.
Dies slowly he who does not overthrow the table when is he is unhappy at work,
who does not risk the certain for the uncertain
to go toward that dream that has been keeping him awake.
Who does not allow, at least once in his life, to flee from wise advices.
Dies slowly he who does not travel, does not read, does not listen to music, who does not find grace in himself.
Dies slowly he who destroys his self esteem,
who does not accept somebody’s help.
Dies slowly he who passes his days complaining of his bad luck or the incessant rain.
Dies slowly he who abandons a project before starting it,
who does not ask over a subject that he does not know
or who does not answer when being asked about something he knows.
Dies slowly he who does not share his emotions, joys and sadness,
who does not trust, who does not even try.
Dies slowly he who does not re-live his memories
and continues getting emotional as if living them at that moment.
Dies slowly he who does not intent in excelling,
who does not learn from the stones from the road of life,
who does not love and or let’ s somebody love.
Let’s avoid death in soft doses,
remembering always that to be alive demands an effort much bigger
than the simple fact of breathing…
And only through perseverance do we reach for a wonderful happiness. – Martha Medeiros

 


May 19,2020
And then Bijou came ….

            Of all the creatures that stole my heart Bijou has a big piece of it: His grace, elegance, sweetness, innocence were just amazing to me. He was a very little faun that was found caught in a net by a friend of mine who thought I could be the best substitute mom for him. I had to learn fast and I did; we built a shed with a tall fence around under the woods where he would stay at night and part of the day, we placed hay and fresh water for him to drink, eat and sleep on, and often I would go visit and lie on the hay myself right next to him and he enjoyed that more and more. Bijou drank, various times a day, out of the baby bottle the goat milk that my friend Christiana gave me, and spent also a lot of time in my studio on a blanket and getting up to push me with his beautiful little nose to get a piece of apple and a kiss. He learned to ask and I learned to listen and see. When he was hungry he would come and push me gently with his little nose and I learned that that gesture meant to get my attention to fulfill his needs. I learned later that it meant many other things. He grew up fast and soon was able to go out in the woods alone, maybe meet other deer and find a family. I would call him in the morning for his milk bottle and he would come running out of the woods to spend the day with us: the dogs, the cats and I. He learned to play with us hide and sick, and he was very good on disappearing behind a tree and jump out when we were walking by. He loved to run with the dogs and the dogs loved him.           

 

In September hunting season started and my anxiety was uncontrollable! I started to place on him an orange collar, then a little orange vest, but he was very uncomfortable with it. I left and sent messages to all the places where I knew hunters would gather, but I could not sleep at night and any gun shut would put me in a panic and I would run out to call him and to say to the hunters to go away! I became the “old crazy woman that shouts in the woods” Hunting season was finally over but here they keep shooting even after that. One day Bijou did not come running from the woods and for 2 months I could not find him…I was sure somebody killed him! Then, one afternoon, walking with the dogs and calling him in the woods, the dogs started barking and running, I ran after them, and Bijou was in a clearing with high grass. I was so happy that he was alive but, when I got close to him I knew that he was sick. I tried to get him to come with us, I could not carry him, I tried to push him toward the house, but he could not come. I went back home to get a leash but when we got back to the clearing we could not find him, even the dogs could not find him. I started going there every day, morning and eve, but we could not find him anymore. With a broken heart I kept calling him hoping he would get well and come home. One morning, while walking toward the chicken coup, I found him near the Pergola, he was dying, almost totally blind and unable to stand up for more than 2 minutes. I ran upstairs to call a Veterinarian that could help him and when I was going down he was trying to drag himself up the stairs to get me. He had lost a lot of weight, his eyes were almost all white and his breathing was shallow. Bijou was dying and all I could do was to be with him and try to make him as comfortable as I could.

He was so light now that I could pick him up like a puppy; I carried him in his fenced area and hold him waiting for the Vet to come. She came and helped him to die. That year a huge amount of deer died with a disease that it still is incurable and decimates the deer population in various areas of the USA, that year it happen in NC and we lost our precious Bijou.

Love and pain come hand in hand… that is why so many people are afraid and unable to love, but life does not have meaning without it. I don’t believe life is a gift, if my mother had asked me if I want it I would have said “thank you, but no thanks!” with all I know now about life…. Even with all its beauty, incredible creatures and magic, it is still too long and too hard. Maybe that is why I try so hard to give a good, peaceful and serene life to the creatures that come my way….

Be well, be brave and be strong!!!!

Siglinda

 


May 8, 2020

This week the Goathouse lost another amazing cat -Twig.

He was a long, skinny, tall black short hair cat… He lived at the Refuge for many, many years, every time I was there and he heard my voice he walked back behind the Infirmary and found the perfect stick to bring to me. He would start calling me from back there, with the stick in his mouth and called all the way back to where I was, dropped the stick in front of me and accepted in a shy way my compliments and petting… He did it for some of his feral friends too, I have seen him arriving in the middle of the little group that gathered around waiting for him, drop the gift, and have a feast of head bots…

About a year ago I saw him losing weight and not well, I brought him to my home and in a short time he was doing well, eating well and gaining some weight. He started to go out in the garden and bring sticks to me on the porch, coming up the stairs with his sweet calling. I had, many times a day, to leave my office and go out to greet and thank him. Many of the cats at the house learned the routine and they would gather with me waiting for Twig…. Last winter we used a big bag of his twigs to start the fire in the big wood stove. This year, I promised him that I was going to keep all his presents and the table on the porch has a big pile of it.

5 days ago he was not coming with sticks, and I saw him curled up in the sun. I noticed that he had lost weight, when I called him and went to pet him he looked at me with very sad eyes…. I realized something bad was happening. We gave him fluids, fed him all that he loved, kept him warm, took him to our Vet… he was in very bad shape, his kidneys were failing and there was something else going on that we could not figure out. He was leaving us and we could not do anything about it.

I cannot even imagine without pain, not to be able to hear his sweet voice calling…. There will never be another creature like Twig!

                                            


April 17, 2020

Dear friends,

This is truly precious!! Take the time to open it, totally worth it. Absolutely fabulous!!
https://www.instagram.com/p/B-bcttZlrCB/?igshid=wch7cd0w684j
We are closed, disinfecting everything that comes in the Refuge, heads down caring for the kitties and, I have to admit, enjoying tremendously the quiet, the flowers, the loving of the animals. Wherever I sit or lie down many kitties and the dogs come to be next or on top of me… if I walk to the Refuge or in the garden, many kitties come to rub against my legs or asking to be picked up. The dogs love to come with me and the kitties doing zoomies in the garden and coming to the studio; they browse around and then lie around me while I work. They all come to take and give love, that is how animals communicate, it is the most important vehicle for communication, health, physical and psychological well being.

I have seen, all my life, a sick animal get well when he or she receives love and tenderness. Like hummingbirds, they come to get the honey they need and to give me the honey I need for my health and wellbeing. I have also seen animals giving love and tenderness to each other, often across species. The most astonishing to me was a common lizard, on the terrace of my little apartment in Rome; she started to hide in the fur of one of my cats… Piccolo, and sleep in the sun with him. He never bothered her and at one point it was clear that he was enjoying her company… he would make room for her by opening his arm pit to her…. I had a pigeon falling in love with a white disabled dove, they had many chicks, and one night she was killed by a hawk…. He never did mate with any of the other doves but lived with us on the little ruff-garden of a building in Rome for many years….. 4 Years after I moved here in NC, I happened to go to the stockyard, don’t ask me why…. But I left with a little cow after driving nuts a guy that didn’t want to sell him to me…. He was a little bull, very sick, I had to take him to the Vet school to give him colostrum, he was pulled away from his mother to become dinner for people… after a fight for his survival, with the sweet attention of the goats who were loving and mothering him, he started growing… and growing…. and growing… with Argo, my dog, playing ball with him and laying on top of him when he was resting and chewing on one of his horns…. Of course, I have seen love and care between cats…. So much I would have to write a very long letter to tell you all I have witnessed. I think that I will start to tell you all the stories of my life so I will keep you company in these crazy times…. Keep safe, keep well, enjoy the slowing down and find out how many things we really don’t need! Much love to all of you…. And I mean it!
Siglinda

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