Shea Rolnick of Winterport, Maine, has pet goats to help her cope with a childhood of abuse, and she uses their milk as part of her entrepreneurial soap business.
When Shea Rolnick's post-traumatic stress disorder from a painful past forced her to quit teaching and working as a veterinary technician, she struggled to find comfort and stability in her life. The PTSD and severe anxiety disabled her to the point that she could not leave her home.
But thanks to a group of farm animals, Rolnick is on the road to recovery, functioning with more good days than bad days. She began raising chickens, knowing caring for the coop would mean she had to step outside at least twice each day. Goats soon followed in her animal therapy.
Soon, seeing the positive impact the goats were having on her life, Rolnick knew she needed to develop a means to cover the costs of their care.
This led her to invest in even more goats with the intention to breed the herd and sell their milk. The milk turned into a soap and lotion business, all products from her goats.
Rolnick's entrepreneurial beginning was made possible with the assistance of Maine AgrAbility, a non-profit dedicated to educating disabled persons who are running agricultural start-ups.
Now, Rolnick welcomes goats that suffer from a virus called caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE). Kid goats infected with the virus experience brain inflammation whereas adults contracting the disease show signs of joint pain.
In the commercial milk industry, goats with CAE are killed to prevent them from passing on the virus to others. But not at this farm.
That makes Rolnick's Gentle Meadow Goat Farm an animal sanctuary.
All images via Gentle Meadow Goat Farm via Facebook.