by Amber Bretzman
Goats are an animal that growing up always fascinated me. I suppose this was in part due to the fact that they were very rarely seen on farms in Wyoming, where I was raised. I only recall ever seeing one in a petting zoo. My grandfather often talked of having goats when he was a boy. He had two hermaphrodite goats that pulled a cart, he would always light up talking about them. Fantasy books often portray goats as whimsical and elusive which added to my attraction.
For years goats appeared at the top of my “someday” wish list. Though I had known I wanted a goat I truly knew little about them and even less about their keep. My introduction into goat ownership was abrupt, to say the least. I received a message from my boyfriend at the time, Brandon, asking me if a goat was still something I would like to have. The answer, of course was yes! Nothing more was said and I went about my evening when I heard the engine of his ’95 Toyota 4Runner growling into the driveway. My ears perked to the sound. I listened intently for the usual. First the silence of the engine shutting down, then the opening and closing of the car door followed by heavy steps up the stairs and the front door opening. That day the engine silenced and the driver door opened then…. a horrific wail that had me running to the door fearing he had runover our neighbor woman! I flung open the door to the most hilarious view, a 170 pound bright white flash jumping out the back door of the Runner. “Well now you have a goat, some guy at work was giving her away. Her name is Chloe, or something like that.” I could not believe there at the other end if the tattered leashed that had just been placed in my hand was a goat. MY goat.
For me my relationship with goats was love at first sight. How could anyone not adore these charismatic characters that possess the power to enrage you with their sheer impatience then make you laugh hysterically with the tilt of the head and their best impression of duckface? I was addicted and with my addiction came the need for more. After Chloe came Mariah, followed by Gloria, Gloria Also, Blossom and then Freya. Each goat was as unique in appearance as they were in personality but Freya she took the cake. She was a gopher eared LaMancha.
The LaMancha is a dairy breed of goat developed in Oregon in the 1950’s. They are easily recognized amongst other breeds as when looking at them they appear to not have ears. It is in fact not uncommon for people seeing them for the first time to ask me “what happened” to our goats ears as though the goat had been through some devastatingly traumatic experience forcing their ears to be surgically removed. My son who was six when we first saw Freya immediately noticed her tiny ears, naturally cropped short against her skull and thought they were the cutest thing he has ever seen and that she was the most beautiful goat. He begged to bring her home. I have to be honest and say I did not necessarily share his sentiment. I though her look was…odd. He was so smitten, watching him delicately scratch behind her barely existent nub of an ear while softly asking her if she wanted to be his goat and sleep at his house. I could not say no.
Freya was dam raised but unlike any of the other goats we had brought home she was immediately sociable. Happy to greet at any moment and more than willing to stand for scratches as long as they were being given. Like a loyal puppy when outside she was there at your side or in very close proximity. It took Brandon a week to notice our new addition but when he did his reaction, like Freya, was unforgettable.
“What the hell is that? That goat looks like an ALIEN”