I never knew I liked goats. Growing up as a kid I would occasionally see them at a zoo but I didn’t really have any contact with them until much later in my adult life. The first goat I can remember really interacting with was one at a petting area inside the Mendon Zoo. I believe it was a drawf goat, those little ones that never get too big. I distinctly remember it also trying to eat LD’s purse that she had at the time, which in a roundabout way got me to thinking that maybe she deserved a new purse that related her professional stature to me and the world and so I got her a Dooney and Burke, but that’s a story in and of itself for some other time.
Then there was Hector. I suppose he was the first goat that you could say I got to know. He was an old goat that lived in NJ at a place called Popcorn Park, sort of a sanctuary for animals that we’re abused or uncared for. He loved to eat popcorn so he would always greedily eat mine when I passed by to see him, which eventually led to him biting the bag that held it, and then my coat sleeve which held the bag, etc., etc.. He was always separated out from the other goats because for some reason he had something wrong with one of his testicles, I don’t remember exactly what it was now, but that was the reason. He had a really long beard too. He was rambunctious but friendly. Sadly he died years later but he’s the goat that I first connected with.
Goat yoga introduced me to the wonder of baby or young goats. Their cuteness and sheer enthusiasm really took hold of me. I’ve been lucky enough to experience it a few times. The first time was at a place in NH which sadly has recently closed it doors but we learned of it I believe through an episode of Chronicle, a local tv news magazine type show. This place might have been one of the first to offer this kind of experience if not THE first. You do yoga while the babies jump around on you and such. Truth be told I don’t do it for any yoga, who cares about that, but more just to interact with the goats. We’ve also had the pleasure of doing it at places in Georgetown, MA, Dartmouth, MA, and at someone’s personal farm in western RI. We even got to snuggle and had the honor of naming two babies in NJ a few years back. They apparently liked our submissions of LaffyTaffy and Lollipop. Laffy would later go on to grow up and have kids of her own.
The Sanctuary we visit often is where you can really get to know these animals, or at least where I did. They are such soulful and smart animals. If you hang around them enough you would definitely see that. And they have such personalities, all specific to each individual creature, and yet, so human like at times. Incredible animals, with a group mentality and social structure all their own. They know love, warmth, are whip-smart and have great memory. They even know what it is and feels like to mourn their fallen friends. I think they remind me of myself sometimes, and not just because of my facial hair, but because we have deep emotion, are intelligent, at times funny and silly, and always loyal and true to ourselves, our families and our friends. And that’s something to admire and try to emulate in all our lives.