When one mother goat found herself stranded on a snow covered mountain, her life hung in the balance. But, just as the situation reached breaking point, an 11-year-old girl appeared on the horizon. And luckily for the animal, she knew exactly what to do.
Hamdü Sena Bilgin may only be 11 years old but she still has an important job on her family’s farm. On the small-holding near Rize, in Turkey, Bilgin works as a goatherd. This means she tends to and watches over the goats.
The Bilgin family raise goats for their milk. Located in the İkizdere district of Turkey, their farm is spread across mountainous terrain. Furthermore, the weather there is often wet. So, Bilgin’s job is certainly not a walk in the park.
Nevertheless, whenever the little girl was not at school, she loved to check up on her goats. And when she made her rounds, she was usually joined by her beloved dog Tomi. “I love animals. I want everybody to love animals too,” Bilgin told Turkish newspaper Hürriyet. “Spending time with animals is a very good feeling.”
Early in 2017 Bilgin and Tomi were out tending to their flock as usual. However, on this day, a thick layer of snow coated the mountainside, making their work more arduous than usual. But, committed to her goats, Bilgin chose to persevere.
And it was a good job the pair decided to persist through the winter weather. Because Bilgin and Tomi found a pregnant goat that was in labor up there on the icy mountain. The mom-to-be was a long way from home and Bilgin worried she would not make it back safely.
With no time to lose, Bilgin hatched a plan. “After the goat gave birth, I led the rest of the herd back to their shelter,” she revealed to The Dodo. “Then I grabbed two backpacks from the house and went back to the goat and her baby with Tomi.”
While at the house, Bilgin had cleared her backpacks of all her school books. Now that they were empty, she could use them as makeshift stretchers to transport the mom and her newborn home. After returning to the goats, the schoolgirl placed the mother in one bag and her baby into the other.
Then, showing strength beyond her years, Bilgin lifted the mother onto her shoulders. She also secured the baby onto Tomi’s back. Together, they embarked on the long, arduous trek to bring the goats back home safely.
Halfway through their journey, the pair were helped by Bilgin’s brother, Ali. With his assistance, they were able to deliver the mother and child to safety. “The snow was so thick, I was exhausted,” she admitted. “But it was worth it.”
Bilgin’s brother was so impressed with his little sister’s efforts that he decided to post some pictures of the epic rescue on Facebook. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, they quickly went viral. Soon, well wishes were flooding in for the young goatherd online.
“This is a wonderful story and the photography is fabulous. It could be made into a children’s book and sold worldwide,” read one such comment. “This is the the kind of story that helps children feel that the world is basically full of many good people.”
“Wow, what a strong little girl, and what a bond she has with her pup,” another Facebook user wrote. “So glad the momma and baby goats were brought home safely. The baby looked like it enjoyed the ride,” they added.
In fact, so many people were talking about Bilgin and Tomi that they soon became celebrities in their local area. As a result, journalists began to approach the little girl for interviews. In fact, they were so keen that the authorities had to rush to clear the snow off the road to her family’s farm, in order that the media could meet her face to face.
“I was outside with my brother to herd the goats and it suddenly started snowing,” Bilgin explained to a crowd of journalists. “At the same time, one of our goats started giving birth. We decided to put the goat in my backpack and placed her kid inside another one. [I] tied it to Tomi and took them to their shelters in our farm.”
Before long, Belgin and Tomi’s heroism was being covered in the national Turkish news. Later, their story spread worldwide. People as far afield as the United States, India and China read about the girl and her dog’s selfless actions.
But, while it seemed Bilgin was famous all over the world, in her own home things continued as normal. In fact, her father was one of the last people to learn about her act of kindness. “I found out about it two days after everyone started talking about it,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Sabah.
But he said Bilgin’s efforts didn’t come as a surprise. According to him she’d always been an animal lover. What did shock him, though, was the level of attention his brave little girl was getting online and in the local area.
However, Bilgin herself was enjoying the limelight. She said tending to the animals gave her a “great feeling” and that this recognition came as an added bonus. What’s more, she’d been inundated with phone calls from friends and family who wanted to pass on their congratulations.
Thanks to Bilgin and Tomi, both the nanny goat and her kid are now doing well. They went above and beyond to ensure the precious animals made it home. And it’s safe to say the goats in their care will always be safe as long as they have their two guardian angels to look out for them.