A Goat Story

By Laurelee Blanchard

     The two black goats were less than a day old when hunters killed their mother on the slopes of Mount Haleakala on Maui. A kindhearted rescuer took care of them at her home overnight and called FARMís urban sanctuary the next morning. When my husband and I arrived to pick up the newborns, we couldnít believe how tiny they were - smaller than our smallest cat. Because they were orphaned and needed to be bottle fed around the clock, we arranged to keep them inside our house with us. My husband suggesting naming the new goats Bobby and Mary Kay. He stayed home and looked after them, while I drove to the store to buy diapers, baby pajamas, bottles and goatís milk. 

   The baby goats drank from their bottles, looked up at our faces, and made constant eye contact. We felt so sorry for them, having lost their mother. Their umbilical cords were still wet. This was our first experience with baby goats, and neither of us had ever changed a diaper. We learned quickly though, because the goats loved being handled. They would hold perfectly still as we guided their hooves through the armholes of the pajamas and fumbled with the diapers. The diapers would slip off unless they were securely pinned to the pajamas.

    After getting the goats dressed and fed, we decided to let them run around the house for a while. Their little hooves clicked on our wood floors as they ran and jumped. These unfamiliar creatures fascinated our cats. Whenever the goats lost sight of us they panicked and cried loudly. For being so small, their voices sure were powerful.

   That evening we prepared for bed, not expecting to get much sleep. We thought the goats would constantly want to be bottle-fed, like they did during the day. As it turned out, they slept soundly all night in our bed, between our heads. 

   The next morning we removed the goatsí dirty diapers, and took them outside to romp around. Although they were only two days old, they were drawn to the rocks in the garden. The little goats would jump on the rocks and propel themselves in the air, kicking up their back legs and spinning around. We had never seen anything so cute. As we strolled around our fenced yard, the goats followed us close behind. To them we were their parents.

    As soon as Bobby was three weeks old, we took him to the veterinarian to be neutered. His sister Mary Kay came along since the two of them had never been apart. The neutering procedure was simple and Bobby bounced back quickly.  

    For the next few months it was our nightly routine to watch the news on television and hold the goats on our laps. They felt soft and warm and smelled good. When they got a little older, the goats became interested in our popcorn, and would stick their heads way into the popcorn bowl, to their eyes. Pretty soon, the goats were acting very rambunctious. We all played games together. They would chase us around the house, jump from one piece of furniture to another, and leap high into the air. It was okay with us if the goats knocked things over, but the excitement was a bit much for the cats.  

My husband finished building the goat house and fencing the new pasture just in time. The goats were four months old and had begun busting out of their diapers and making our house looked as if someone had scattered coffee beans everywhere. When the goats moved out, the cats seemed grateful to have some peace and quiet once again.   

Mary Kay and Bobby are now a year old and enjoy spending their days eating grass in their big green pasture, playing on rock piles, and napping under shade trees. At night they sleep on warm, dry straw inside their goat house. In the morning when they see us walking up the path to visit them, they call out to us. They still havenít accepted that we donít sleep in their house at night. Maybe we should.