In Praise of Goats
by Jennifer Molloy
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All through history goats have gotten a bad rap and associated with evil but in reality they are fun-loving curious creatures that can be quite affectionate. Our goat adventure began when we adopted Maggie and her twin boys from a breeder.Unfortunately it ended in tragedy when in their third year they contracted some type of encephalitis that caused seizures and death within 24 hours once they started to show symptoms. The vet really was baffled and we were devastated. But since I don't have any pictures of them on this computer I will save their story for another day.
Maggie, Tiny and Issac brought us so much joy in their short lives we decided to try again but this time we wanted two kids (baby goats) We went to a local farmer who said they had some goats that were not suitable for breeding and they were sending them off to slaughter. We went right over and in this very large pen were about thirty unlucky baby goats that could run like the wind. The farmer told us to concentrate on picking kids that were holding good weight as they would be the healthiest. When we went in the pen all the goats were terrified of us and would run down to one end of the pen and eye us suspiciously. The first goat that caught my eye was Alpine (2nd row in pictures) an Alpine goat, hence the name. When we tried to cut him from the heard this crazy little white goat stuck to his side like glue. It was litterly impossible to separate the two and after 20 minutes had gone by my husband and the farmer decided that if they loved each other that much they could stay together. With that decision made we all stepped back and took a breather before round two began. Once again we climbed into the pen and moved toward the lively pair but before we even got close one tiny little goat pushed his way through the group and made his way to the front. With what looked like dogged determination he broke free from the others and trotted right toward me. I stopped to see what he would do and bold as brass he walked right up to me and thrust his head into my hands. He was the scrawniest little creature with a big roman nose and my husband took one look at him and said don't even think about taking him home . He is clearly not doing very well and I am not bringing home another goat that might die and the farmer agreed. Out numbered by wisdom and age I relented and we concentrated on separating the Alpine and the white goat from the herd. But what the sickly little goat lacked in the brawn dept he made up for in brains because somehow he figured out which goats we were after and shadowed their every move. Now I know it was more than coincidence because it took quite a few tries to cut Alpine and the girl from the herd and everywhere they went he followed. Finally we were successful at chasing the two we wanted out the gate when in an effort that was nothing short of heroic the sickly little goat threw himself toward the gate and rolled underneath before it closed. In a blink of an eye he was back up on his feet screaming his head off and chasing our two goats who were now safely in the arms of the farm hands that were walking toward our car. The farmer tried to stop him but the little guy must have sensed redemption lie at the end of that gate and he doged the farmer and made a bee line straight for the truck. I turned to my husband and said don't even think about sending him back. I will never know what made that little goat decided he was leaving but he had won my heart and I had named him Logan before he was even in the truck. Logan was so tiny that when we brought him home he would fall asleep inside the tub we used to feed the horses in. Once we were home we named the white goat Madison but it wasn't long before we were calling her "Mad Maddy" because she would dash around from place to place full of vim and vigor. To the untrained eye not versed in the game of goaty tag she could appear quite crazy but it was all in good fun. Actually it is hard to get pictures of Maddy because usually before you click the camera she is off and running somewhere leaving you with a lovely picture of her bum or half her head. Maddy is our explorer and resident trouble maker like most women, so my husband says. It was quite warm the day I took these pictures which slowed her down a bit. Alpine is the most affectionate of the group and his laid back demeanor is more suited to strolling the meadow but more often than not he ends up following Maddy at a quicker pace than he would like. Alpine has a lovely sense of humor and he demands attention always pulling at your sleeve or pant leg . He is very affectionate and loves to be petted and talked to. Logan (third row of pic's) thinks he is the big man on campus but that is only because Alpine lets him think this way. He is head over hills for Maddy and would follow her anywhere but she much perfers Alpine not that Logan notices. He too is very affectionate but Alpine will run him off if I make to much of a fuss about him. My favorite thing to do is go for a walk with them around my five acre field and watch Maddy flit from one patch of clover to the next much like a bee goes from flower to flower while the boys do their best to keep up with her. They all know their names and they are masters escape artists that would make the Great Houdini proud. Intensely curious they are always into something and they can be a one man wrecking crew if you don't have the proper fencing to keep them in. I would recommend that when picking out your goat you look for one's with the horns taken out when young, because you have to constantly be aware of where they are so you don't accidentally get hooked. Unfortunately when we picked these guys out their horns were already to large to take out. I love going in to the pen at the end of the day when they have run out all their energy and are quietly chewing their cud. This is when they are most cuddly and content. It is so cute watching them settle for the night because they lay down and cuddle up and sleep with their heads resting on each others backs or rump it is so cute and we feel so blessed to be their care givers.
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A very entertaining and informative article. It's obvious you have a real affection for your "crew". Other than some punctuation, I thought it was very well written. Thanks for sharing.