An artist and resident of Balzac who has been caring for an orphaned baby goat since early February is capitalizing on the animal’s newfound popularity to support the Airdrie Health Foundation.
On Feb. 3, Sharon Shuttleworth, who lives on a property near CrossIron Mills mall, temporarily adopted an orphaned baby goat named Lola from a goat farmer she knows and shares a stable with. Lola and her twin brother Gary were orphaned during a recent cold snap in Alberta, when their mother passed away.
“Lola was really shivery and tiny”, Shuttleworth said. “I’m from a farming background and I know the risks involved with taking care of orphans and how much work they are. I also know they sometimes don’t live. I figured it was best for me to take her home since I’m more emotionally prepared for what could happen. Another family took the little male home to Airdrie.”
Shortly after taking Lola into their care, Shuttleworth and her husband started posting photos, videos and comments to social media about how they take care of the goat. The posts garnered a lot of attention, according to Shuttleworth, which led her to create separate Facebook and Instagram pages dedicated to the animal.
“She’s jumping all over the furniture – she’s a wild goat,” she said. “She’s starting to show some real signs of independence, which is awesome because she was so sick when she was first here.”
Caring for Lola has provided Shuttleworth’s mental health a big boost, she said, and the social media posts have been well-received by the page’s followers.
“Increasingly, we saw people talking about how she’s brightening their day,” Shuttleworth said.
“My husband and I spent the whole month laughing at this little goat. We started thinking there must be another way to bring more good from Lola to the community than just my immediate personal followers.”
That thought spawned an idea in Shuttleworth’s mind to organize a Lola-themed charity campaign. On Feb. 23, she launched the Lola Project – a six-week campaign to raise money for the Airdrie Health Foundation.
According to Shuttleworth, the campaign will offer donors the chance to buy coffee mugs, wine glasses and sports buffs adorned with Lola-themed artwork, created by members of Studio 52 – a group of Airdrie-based artists who conduct annual art challenges. Shuttleworth is a member of the group.
She added she hopes the campaign raises more than $1,000 for the Airdrie Health Foundation.
“It could be a lot of fun – we just need exposure,” she said.
Now that her condition has improved since a pneumonia diagnosis in her first days, Lola will move out of Shuttleworth's home on Feb. 26 into a nearby stable, where she will be reunited with her twin brother, Gary.
“That was always the original intent when we took Lola, to return her to the goat farm,” Shuttleworth said. “We got really attached and the more we thought about it, she was really helping people and brightening their day, so we wanted to find a way to capitalize on that.”
The baby goat will stay at the stable near Shuttleworth's home until the end of March. Then, Lola will stay with Carly Ingeveld and Morgan Cooper, the caretakers of Allen the Alpaca – an alpaca that Airdrie families are able to hire for birthday parties.
“She’ll be really happy, I think,” Shuttleworth said, adding she will still keep posting daily updates to Lola’s Facebook page throughout the Lola Project. “She’s a house goat and she’s going to be a stall goat, but she really needs stuff to climb on and to be with other goats. I think that will be really good for her.”
For more information on the Lola Project, search Lola the Little Goat on Facebook.