Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mmmmmmahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Saturday goat blogging.

I keep trying to get goat blogging to catch on but everybody just wants to show pictures of their cats. Oh well.

This is our goat Little Joe. He's a pygora goat that we've had about 8 years.



Little Joe is actually the second goat we've owned. Both Little Joe and his farm goat friend Harry were attacked by our neighbor's dogs while they were in their shed on our property. Harry didn't make it.

Mrs. Wormer went door to door after that attack trying to figure out which of the neighbor's dogs were involved. When she got to the neighbors at the end of the road they were washing their dogs off and before Mrs. Wormer could say anything about why she was there they blurted out "our dogs have been inside all day!" Right.

At that point we were faced with the problem of what to do with Harry's remains. Come to find out disposing of the body of a goat isn't as easy as you might think. The rendering plant won't take goats. That means you have to either bury the goat on your property or take it into the middle of the woods and leave it ala serial killers. We decided to go with the bury it on our property thing.

The problem was Harry was a big goat. A BIG goat. He stood about up to my chest and I'm a tall guy. Getting out the shovel and going to town just wasn't an option.

We had another neighbor at the time that was doing some landscaping and had a backhoe. He offered to did a hole for us and help us bury Harry. He wouldn't be available until the next day but that didn't seem like a problem.

So the next day he brought over the backhoe, we identified a spot and he scooped out a goat grave. When we went to get Harry's body we realized rigimortis had set in and the body was damned heavy. We dragged it over and pushed it into the hole and were surprised to see it's legs and hooves sticking up about 6" over the hole. D'oh!

Now we were faced with some really tough choices. We could try and pull the body out and re-dig the hole but that seemed like it'd be near impossible. We could use the "Dean Wormer" option employed to get the horse out of his office or we could, as our neighbor gently suggested, use the scoop of the backhoe to make the goat "fit."

Let me jump in her and ask you to please understand that in hindsight this seems callous but the whole event beginning with the dog attacks was actually an emotional mess for us. In our wildest dreams both my wife and I never dreamed we'd ever shed a tear over a dead goat. That day we'd spent a good part of the day crying and hugging each other. Our kids were pretty young at the time and we were also trying to comfort them.

I'll never forget my neighbor's face as he sat in the cab of the backhoe and used the scoop to "push" Harry's body into position. You could tell he felt awful and he kept looking at us with sheepish guilt. Poor guy.

Anyhow- back to Little Joe pictured above. Besides the dog attack Little Joe has been seriously sick on any number of occasions (usually fatal to goats) and last summer he was attacked by a ground hive of yellow-jackets which put him in shock and bleeding out the nose. The vet said he probably wouldn't make it. As you can see he's doing fine.

In fact I've pretty much come to the realization that Little Joe is invincible. After the yellow-jacket attack I suggested to the family that we rename Little Joe after the mad monk Rasputin who was poisoned, strangled, stabbed and shot before he enventually drowned. As usual the rest of the family didn't get dad's sense of humor.

I really believe that long after I'm gone that goat will be soldiering on. Eating oats and blackberries and generally having a jolly old goat time. Lucky bastard.

17 comments:

Freida Bee said...

I will have a goat someday. I appreciate the anecdote. We have coyotes out where we live and it is prohibitive for chickens and goats, both of which I am fond. Our neighbors have a goat, but their yard is better fenced than ours. We do have lots of bunnies that live on our property, one of which our cat caught , but did not kill, and we thought we might raise, but it died in captivity in one day. Now, there is a promise in the books to get a bunny from the animal shelter.

Liberality said...

Someone has to tend to the goats and I guess that would be you. I already have my hands full of taking care of the rest of Mother Nature.

annie said...

sweet goat! also tough.

some dog owners ought to NOT own dogs. probably similar to some parents, etc. sigh.

Don Snabulus said...

Gotta love those neighbors. Bastards.

Little Joe is a cool cucumber though. I like staring into his alien eyes. Keep on truckin' LJ!

Jess Wundrun said...

I'm jealous!

I have been thinking about chickens. But the goats have to remain in that 'what if we bought a little farm' day dream.

Dean Wormer said...

freida-

I hope you get a goat someday. There actually kind of fun. Sort of like big dogs. With hooves and devil eyes.

Bunnies are cool too, but scary.

liberality-

Thank you for covering everything else in mother nature!

annie-

That's a perfect example. I feel as responsible when my kids do something as my own dogs. Some people just shouldn't have either.

don-

Be careful not to stare too deeply into his eyes. He can hypnotize you. That's why he gets top shelf oats. Mind control.

Jess-

I hope you get that farm. Chickens would be cool but personally I have memories of the little mean shits chasing me around as a kid on grandparent's farm. OTOH maybe that would make "fixing" them for dinner all the easier.

FranIAm said...

Wow- you really can read "My Pet Goat", hold the book in the correct direction and be telling the truth.

Dean Wormer for President!

Sorry about Harry, that makes my heart hurt a lot.

Dean Wormer said...

Thanks Fran! But My Pet Goat is actually better upside down.

We can't imagine a life without animals at this point but every time we lose one we do ask ourselves if it's worth the heartbreak.

Overdroid said...

You need to get a girl goat so you can have goat milk. Also plant some fruit trees and veggies. And keep an eye on those neighbors with the dogs. The Crash is coming. EEP.

Arkonbey said...

Was the backhoe neighbor the lying neighbor?

They probably felt very bad, but were also afraid their dogs might have to be put down. I side with you, though.

I've known people with goats and they were all 'car climbers'. Yours?

I'm actually planning on getting chickens in three years (money to build henhouse is biggest hurdle). Goats are too damned smart!

Hypatia said...

All I know is I'm not going to have sheep.

Sheep are dumb, REAL dumb...

Spirula said...

The Harry story is sad, Little Joe rocks! In fact, goats rock. Sheep...not so much.

When I lived up in the land of the taxed and educated (NE), twas a "farmer" down the road who had a goat that spent a lot of time riding around on the back of his pony.

I figured is was some kind of herbivore dominatrix thing. Whatever pulls your chain...or leash.

Dean Wormer said...

OD-

We're planting apricot trees and vegetables in next month. I'm looking into solar panels and some other things to make us self-sufficient.

Not because I'm worried about the coming zombie apocalypse, mind you. It's just because I'm cheap.

arkonbey-

Was the backhoe neighbor the lying neighbor?

Nope. The lying neighbor wasn't the sort of neighbor that would be doing landscaping, which should tell you what you need to know.

The goats have climbed up on the car but my favorite thing is they sort of like us so when they get free I'll occasionally be reading my paper and drinking my morning coffee and look up to see a goat staring at me through the french door to the deck.

We built a pretty cool goat pen for them after the attack which actually has a big hill with a log for them to climb on.

hypatia-

Sheep are dumb but they vote, so we try and keep it on the mum.

spirula-

I hope to God that farmer/ pony story wasn't a euphimism for anything.

Spirula said...

I hope to God that farmer/ pony story wasn't a euphimism for anything.

Nope. Just a goat that liked riding shot-gun on a pony. Guess I shouldn't have put farmer in quotes. But really, I could never figure out what they farmed. Of course, there are farms you see and then "farms" you don't... for a very good reason.

Freida Bee said...

Funnily my husband said yesterday, "We should get a goat." I might think that interesting timing, but it is just about mowing time and that makes a goat seem really sweet, I suppose.

Dr. Zaius said...

What a sad story.

Dean Wormer said...

spirula-

Aye. Those are the farmers driving brand new cars.

freida-

You should! They're like big dogs and especially useful in trimming blackberries, which they love to eat for some odd reason.

zaius-

Thanks. Sorry it's sad but it's 100% true and part of living in the sticks I suppose.