Pet Goat Amuses as Starter Farm Animal
Tiny creature weaves a spell over owner and her new country community.
Winchell claimed his kingdom, a yellow 1981 Toyota long bed.
It’s difficult to pin down the exact reason I decided, at age 44, to leave the bustle of the city and move to a rural area more than 1,000 miles away. I think I just needed to jump-start my life with a new adventure.
A month or so after the move, I decided that to really experience the rural lifestyle, I needed at least one farm animal. A goat, I thought, would be a good starter farm animal for a woman who had previously owned only the usual array of household pets.
I responded to a notice on a bulletin board advertising Pygora goats – half Pygmy and half Angora. I fell in love the moment I saw the tiny 2-day-old bundle of white hair. Winchell I would name him.
As soon as I returned home, I lifted Winchell out of the car and placed him on the ground. I wasn’t prepared, however, to see him take off running as if he feared for his life. He would be impossible to catch, I decided, after a futile 30-minute chase.
Luckily, Winchell’s gnawing hunger finally prevailed, and he decided I was his only hope for food. Thus began a three-month bottle-feeding routine during which we bonded as mother and child. For such a tiny creature, he sure could make a bone-chilling cry when he was hungry. But after a big meal, he curled up on my lap or on the cushion of an old chair in the corner of the big country kitchen. Angelic, I thought, the first few days. That perception soon changed.
My place was about a mile outside of town, and each day I walked my dog into town and back for exercise. Winchell was not about to be left behind, so he accompanied us, walking on a leash beside the dog. I had to watch that he didn’t eat the neighbors’ roses along the way. It never occurred to me this duo might seem odd, but apparently Winchell attracted a bit of attention on our daily walks. One day I overheard a merchant standing outside her store tell a tourist, “Here comes the goat lady.”
The goat lady! I was far too young to be known by such an eccentric label. From then on we avoided Main Street on our forays into town.
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