My kid, Vincent van Goat
Some posts are difficult to write because you want them to be perfect. That can lead you right into the trap of never writing them at all. I’ve put off writing about my kid because I want everything I say to be so perfect that anyone who even glances over the post loves him as completely as I do. I’ve finally accepted that I can’t communicate how amazing my kid is in just one post.
Of course, when I say “my kid” I mean my six month old goat.
I’ve actually always been a bit afraid of petting goats at fairs and petting zoos. It’s kind of like my fear of horses. I know the proper way to approach and introduce myself to cats and dogs. I’ve lived with them for more years of my life than I haven’t. Farm animals, though? I just don’t know their language. I don’t want to make them feel threatened and cause them to do something that would hurt one or both of us.
Somehow, though, I got it into my head that now that I live on a farm I was going to get a goat. Not a goat to raise for meat. I’m not a vegetarian, and believe me, I have respect for people who take raising healthy livestock for meat seriously enough to be able to nurture and care for an animal who will end up on a plate. I cannot see myself being able to do that, though. I could probably collect eggs from chickens, but I couldn’t eat a chicken I had raised. So, no raising a goat to eat. And not a dairy goat because I can’t really promise I could handle breeding a goat and taking care of her during pregnancy. I just wanted a wethered male as a pet. I wanted a goat to be my friend.
I did my homework on pygmy goats, found someone not too far away who had a good price and actually said I would need to wait a while so the babies didn’t leave their mom too early, and even picked out a name. He was going to be STORMAGEDDON, Dark Lord of All. Except then I realized you can give that name to almost any kind of animal and I would be letting a golden opportunity slip by if I didn’t name him Vincent van Goat.
He gets along with the dogs on the farm when we’re all out together. The old pit bull who protects the farm has added his pen to her daily rounds, and she sometimes follows us when we’re walking around just long enough to make sure we’re okay. Vincent seems to think the beagle is his brother. They hang out in the grass together, both being gentle and moving slowly so they don’t miss anything good on the ground. They took off running together once and Vincent decided beagles make good hurdles for jumping.
He loves being hand-fed oats. He was not disbudded, but I was told his mother doesn’t have horns and he’s inherited the lack of them from her. He has little nubs on his head where horns would grow, though, and he lets me give him nub rubs before I kiss his head. We spend a lot of time sitting in the grass together, and he warned me one day when I was doing yoga and hadn’t noticed the horses walking up to the fence behind me.
He’s invited me into his house several times, but I’m afraid it was built for a pygmy goat — not an adult human.
We like to take walks along the road with either my husband or my nephew. Sometimes we go sit by the road, at the edge of the farm. Some people get the biggest smiles out of driving past someone with a mohawk sitting in the grass with a baby goat! It always makes me happy when I see elderly drivers slow down, smile, and wave.
There’s a peace that comes with sitting or walking with Vincent. I practice zazen meditation, but it’s Vincent who really brings me into that place where I can simply be. I don’t worry when I sit with him. The rest of the world can go on without me for a short while — I’m sitting with my goat. I tell people baby goats have healing properties.
My husband says I’m exactly the kind of person one would expect to have a pet goat, but I had no idea how much I needed one until I hugged Vincent for the first time. I have an amazing kid, and I’m going to use that joke as much as I can before he grows up.