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One about a goat

November 18, 2010

When we hit the Dallas Zoo a few weeks ago, Jack got his first chance to see big animals from other continents, so we skipped the barnyard staples in lieu of the jungle and the savannah. This Sunday, on an afternoon spent in a smaller zoo, we made time for farm animals, too.

Good thing, because it turns out Jack loves goats almost as much as the giraffes. (A good reminder to me, too, that when you’re still pretty new to the world, even simple, everyday things can be the most novel.)

The kid is still a little suspicious of house cats, and goats are taller, hungrier, and hoofed – so we were surprised that seconds inside the fence, he was petting them like nobody’s business, and his buddy Hayden was giving friendly greetings to each one (“Hey little fella!”). Soon, we were dragging Jack away from his favorite goat, and Don was saying, “Maybe we’re going to need to get a goat.”

When I was a toddler, a local guy gave me a goat. I don’t much remember the goat – only that I cried when my dad gave it to someone else just before we left for a long trip to New Jersey. In context, none of it was unusual – our country neighbors unloaded animals on me and my siblings all the time – puppies, mostly, and the one goat. The dogs all died or disappeared in pretty short order – the previous owners nearly always fibbed about shots and sickness – but goats are hardy.

A couple of years later I got wise to Dad’s “we had to give the goat away” line, thanks to hindsight and “Gregory, the Terrible Eater,” which made clear to me that my goat would have been about as needy and high-maintenance as the squirrels in the backyard.

Now with many more years of hindsight, I’m most baffled that my parents accepted the various animals into our fold (well, yard) in the first place, however briefly. I’m more than human enough to bring in a bucket of abandoned kittens left by my mailbox (Yep. That happened.) But in less dramatic circumstances, I’ve had countless animal adoption offers, and countless times I’ve answered a confident, guiltless “No.” (Sometimes it’s more of a “no f***ing way” – it all depends on the offer.)

Guess which one my husband’s goat suggestion earned?

*          *           *

In all seriousness, a goat wouldn’t be that bad an idea for us – we have lots of brush and yard junk, but alas – no fence. Right now our list of priorities is topped by stairs and showers – so a goat fence is going to land somewhere near bowling and 2015.
Also in seriousness, I’m glad our trip to the petting zoo reminded me of Gregory the Terrible Eater, because it’s a great story. Here’s hoping that my son grows to love and remember it for that.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2010 10:05 pm

    I read that book just a few weeks ago! I found it at my mimi’s when I was visiting – it had been my book from when I was younger. Silly Gregory liked healthy stuff, not junk.

  2. November 18, 2010 11:28 pm

    Oh I shall have to see if the library have that book – I love recommendations for good toddler reads. Your son is brave, goats are fairly big and move around at great speed. My daughter is terrified of them, absolutely terrified so alas the petting zoo and horse farm (which strangely has goats wandering everywhere unfettered) are no go zones for us 🙂

    I loved hearing about your childhood and the animals visited upon you.

  3. November 19, 2010 1:36 am

    A goat. I love it. It could be so much worse (reptilian for example). So… stairs, showers, and maybe you could train the goat to not wander off? (Think of the savings in lawn care.)

  4. November 19, 2010 5:42 am

    I will definitely check out the recommendation for the book. My daughter has never taken to goats, but loves elephants and giraffes.

  5. November 19, 2010 4:48 pm

    And I am glad that YOU reminded me of Gregory the Terrible Eater because I had forgotten that awesome book. And now I must share it with my boys.

    I have 5 acres, and I can assure you that the thought of a goat has never crossed my mind. However, my husband has asked for one because we’ve been told that they eat poison ivy.

  6. November 19, 2010 5:01 pm

    I’m looking for good books to read to my toddler – thanks for the recommendation. Will definitely pick it up.

    And a goat? How awesome is that? Glad Jack’s trip took you down to your own memory lane. And BLW is right. Hey, at least it was a goat and not a reptile. *shudder*

    • Janell permalink
      November 19, 2010 7:08 pm

      Thanks for remininding me of this book as well! Tyson and my brother are talking about starting a goat farm actually…one of their many harebrained schemes. We’ll see if it comes to fruition…

  7. November 22, 2010 6:01 am

    Come one, a shower over a fence?? Where are your priorities?? (Just kidding.)

    I am not a fan of animals. (Don’t hate me.) So thinking about having a pet anything freaks me out. But, if we ever move to a house with a big yard, we might adopt a few animals: chickens, a dog, a cow, and maybe even a horse. Though, a goat might be pushing it.

  8. November 24, 2010 3:29 pm

    That book looks charming! I’m going to have to check it out.

    I, too, tend to say no to “stray” pets. Although I did get suckered into Twinkle the Dwarf Hamster. sigh.

  9. sus permalink
    November 25, 2010 7:57 am

    This: “(A good reminder to me, too, that when you’re still pretty new to the world, even simple, everyday things can be the most novel.)” reminds me of this: “Every child begins the world again…” -Thoreau. A good reminder, indeed. Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. November 29, 2010 3:51 pm

    Jack’s sweater … Oh, I love it! Sweetness. And I don’t know that book. We’ll have to acquire it from the library or Amazon. My parents’ neighbors have goats, and I always wonder what the appeal is. Do they like to cuddle? Do they have talents besides getting stuck in the fence? Do they have a secret goat language only children can hear? Perhaps. Ask Jack and let me know. =>

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