Jackie Todd
Jackie Todd
June 1, 2024 ·  6 min read

Rescued Goat Falls into Depression When Separated From His Best Friend

When you sit down and make a list of the most important things in your life, your friends and family will likely have top priority. It is said that social relationships have a direct impact on our health and wellness and that strong relationships will lead to better overall health[1]. This may not be surprising for many of you, but what may be surprising is the fact that animals can have the same kind of deep relationships, like Mr. G, the goat who went into a depressive state after being separated from his lifelong friend.

Mr. G was rescued from an abusive situation, and when he arrived at Animal Rescue Ranch in Grass Valley, California he immediately fell into a deep depression. He refused to eat, even when tempted with special treats, and instead chose to lie down in the corner of his stall with his head dropped. His loss of appetite lasted for six full days.

Health problems were ruled out as the cause, and the rescue workers were becoming very concerned. After doing more research, they discovered that when Mr. G came to the rescue he was separated from his buddy of 10 years, a burro named Jellybean.

Mr. G and Jellybean were both rescued from an abusive situation, and they had come to rely on each other for support and friendship. They had both been living in the same 12-foot by 12-foot outdoor plot of land, with no shade or shelter for 10 years together, and upon being rescued they were sent to separate farms.

So, the rescue volunteers decided to track down Jellybean, and after a 14 hour round trip, made by volunteer Jeff McCracken, to retrieve him, Jellybean was reunited with his friend Mr. G.

Watch their tear-jerking reunion here:

Immediately Mr. G recognized his old friend and began running around the enclosure in a manner that was completely different from the goat that he had been just hours before. Then, after refusing to eat for six days, Mr. G dined straight from Jellybeans bowl.

Today Jellybean and Mr. G live side by side, never straying more than 10 feet from each other. It just goes to show you how deeply animals can feel emotions and friendships, just as humans can.

Can Animals Feel Emotions Like Humans Do?

Ask any pet owner if their animal can feel emotions and the answer will be “yes”. If you’ve ever looked into your dog’s eyes and seen a flicker of recognition or watched your pooch react in joy to the first snow of the season then you’ve seen animal emotion first hand.

Charles Darwin was perhaps the first and most well-known scientist to discuss the link between animals and humans. He argued that the mental powers of animals and humans differ in “degree, not in kind”, meaning that all animals, including humans, feel the same emotions, but in different ways[2].

In one particular study, researchers trained dogs to enter an M.R.I. scanner to have their brains scanned while they were introduced to certain hand signals. Hand signals that indicated food would stimulate the caudate nucleus, the part of the brain associated with anticipation of the things that we enjoy[3].

The caudate in dogs also increased in activity when the smell of a familiar person was introduced or upon the dog’s owner re-entering the room[3]. This shows that dogs can feel love and pleasure towards other beings.

By using the M.R.I. to push away the limitations of behaviorism, we can no longer hide from the evidence. Dogs and probably many other animals (especially our closest primate relatives) seem to have emotions just like us. And this means we must reconsider their treatment as property[3]” Says Berns.

But, man’s best friend is not the only animal capable of feeling. Believe it or not smaller beings, such as fish, also are able to feel emotions. A study published in Animal Cognition found that fish perception and cognitive abilities either matches or exceeds other vertebrates, yet fish are not often given the same level of compassion as warm-blooded vertebrates[4].

Despite the knowledge that animals are able to feel emotions, they are still considered “property” in many countries around the world, which restricts them from certain rights.

Animals Viewed as Property: What that Means for the Animal

Throughout history, animals have long been viewed as property. From livestock to pet cats and dogs, animals in many countries are required to have a license of ownership attached to them. But, now that modern science is proving that animals do in fact feel emotions, governments are beginning to label animals as “sentient beings” rather than a piece of property, which means that the way that we treat our animal friends need to change as well.

If you share your life with a pet, you can up the quality of your pets life with a few simple adjustment to make sure that these living, breathing, and feeling animals are getting the care that they need.

1. Declutter the Non-essentials

This year, go through your pet’s belongings and get rid of things that are broken, or that they don’t use anymore. This will not only help to keep your home clean, but it will also free up space in your dog’s life for the things that matter, like long walks and fun toys.

It’s also a good idea to reserve some of your dog’s toys as “special toys”. Keep these out of reach of your pet and only bring them out when your pet is being rewarded for good behavior. This will keep them from growing tired of their toys, and they will then get more use out of them.

2. Make an Exercise Plan

Life can get very busy, very fast, and it’s easy for many people to put their animal’s exercise on the back burner. Exercise is important for an animal to live a happy and full life, so plan out your animals exercise plan to make sure that they are receiving what they need.

3. Plan Your Pets Finances

Having an animal can be expensive, especially if unexpected medical costs arise. Planning out your pets finances will help to ensure that they’re getting the proper care that they need, which will keep them happy and content.

4. Reflect on the State of Your Pet’s Life and Adjust as Needed

Constantly reflecting on your pets life, the good and the bad, and adjusting accordingly will help to keep your pet feeling good year round. For those of us with busy lives, it can sometimes seem hard to put our pet’s wishes first, but it is essential that you do. We are all that they have, and if we aren’t looking out for their well-being then who is?

As caretakers of the Earth, it is a humans job to make sure that all of the beings on it are happy and thriving. There are animals all over the world that are in need our help, and there are many ways, big and small that we can offer that help. It all starts at home, with the animals that are in your own life.


  1. [1] World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/hia/evidence/doh/en/
  2. [2] On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Charles Darwin. Retrieved from https://darwin-online.org.uk/converted/pdf/1861_OriginNY_F382.pdf
  3. [3] Gregory Berns. (2013, Oct. 5). How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/opinion/sunday/dogs-are-people-too.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&pagewanted=all
  4. [4] Culum Brown. (2014, June 19). Fish Intelligence, Sentience, and Ethics. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10071-014-0761-0