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Archive for the category “Animal Friend Spotlight!”

Meet the Gang! Goat Edition!

So in my ongoing series “Meet the Gang”, I give you GOATS. You have met “The Horse“, and “The Old Dog” and the late “Mr. Rat” so far….so now onto the next!

So in my previous Horse Synopsis, I explained my need to move Indy to the back yard, then to find a companion for him, as horses need other horses or some sort of herd companion (even “He Who Hates Other Horses”). So my options were A) another horse, B) A donkey or C) A goat.

Option A – Another Horse

Being that I needed another horse like I needed a hole in my head, this option was low on the list. Little Child and I did visit a mini horse farm where the lady was thinning the herd, and it was REALLY cool, but like their larger counterparts, they need hoof care/shoes, extensive vaccines and vet care, tooth floating, and even THAT (i.e. “You Had to Clean his What?!?!?). So even though they are smaller, they still require the same care, eat a lot, AND THEY POOP LIKE HORSES.So after deliberating, it was a no for the mini.

Option B – A Donkey

See above, except add that they are LOUD! LOUDER than ANY horse I have ever heard!

Option C – A Goat

Little Child and I used to spend a lot of time at The Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank. Its an actual working farm with animals, crops, etc. Food from the farm is actually (I believe) utilized by Suffolk County facilities. They also have typical “petting zoo” type animals with, of course, baby animals in the spring time. Its a really neat place with really neat things, and the best part – ITS FREE!

So anyway, when I decided that a goat was probably in my future, the first thing I did was zip on down there and pick the folk’s brains. First off, they were SO nice. They actually lent me a book about goats! Basically, in a nutshell – they are very hardy, are very easy to keep, only require one or two vaccines a year, and are basically very enjoyable pets. Everyone said that my son would LOVE to play goats! DRAWBACK – A horse will immediately bond with a goat, but a goat wont immediately bond with a horse and they do better in pairs….wonderful. Well, we’ll see. I have seen solo goats and horses so it’s possible. I also learned that THEY SELL GOATS – the babies that were currently part of their petting zoo. OK, so I said “let me read your book and do my research and I will figure out what to do”.

So then I started some “Goat Research”. There are DAIRY Goats – goats bred specifically for milk. Many of the goats you see are dairy goats. They are small, thin and even miniature sized. They have good personalities although the minis can be a bit pissy. There are ANGORA Goats – goats bred for their fiber. Fainting goats are angora goats and easily my favorite. These are the ones that “Faint” when started. As MUCH as I would have loved a Fainting Goat, I could totally see the child or the old dog scaring the goat, making it pass out, then it getting stepped on by the horse, so BAD combination. Then there are MEAT Goats – goats specifically bred for meat. They are much larger than the other types of goats and are often wide as they are tall.

So fainting goats were out (DAMN!). I looked at some mini’s at the barn where I got Indy from. They were ADORABLE, but too small. I was afraid they would get stepped on. I couldnt find any other type of goats around, so I went back to the Suffolk County farm and inquired about their meat goats.

I looked at the “baby mommas” as I still call them today and they would be a good size to be a horse companion. So off I went to look at the babies who were weaned and separated from their moms. I approached the big pen/fenced area, and it must have been afternoon nap time as NO ONE got off their butts to come over to say hello, except for one little guy. He got up, came on over and he let me pet him and he was very friendly. He had a tag # of 107 in his ear. OK, if I go for the goat, I will go for 107.

I went back up to the farm office and said that I may be interested in 107 but I was still on the fence at the time because I was still considering the possibility of a mini. The head person said “OK, well let us know as they are going to go to…..processing. The school that requested we breed the mothers for the babies backed out of taking the babies so now we are stuck. All the boys and one doe will be processed.” Apparently, goat meat is “processed” when they are babies as the meat is similar to veal, so they needed to be “processed” soon. I told her I would get back to her. Of course, before I left, she mentioned “Are you sure you arent interested in 2? <Insert goat/horse bonding mentioned above>”

OK…so a week or so goes by and I am still on the fence. We had the barn being delivered for Indy, the paddock going up, etc. but I still didnt know who would be Indy’s companion.

Then I got the phone call.

“Hi! This is so and so from the Suffolk County Farm. I need to know what you are going to do as the goats are going to be processed in the next day or so.” Ugggggggg! OK, a goat it is!

I called back and asked when the truck was coming to get them, and was told that they do it there, so they can do it anytime…..UGGGGG! I’ll be there that weekend to take 107 out of his pen, get to know him, pay for him, etc.

So Little Child and I zip down there that weekend to officially meet #107. I named him Seven from the Seinfeld Episode (If George had a child, he was going to give it the name of Seven). Again I got the “Are you sure you dont want two?!?!”. They took him out, and Mr. Calm and Friendly INSIDE the pen, turned into SCREAM LIKE A BANSHEE Goat once he was separated from his friends…..

I looked at the farm hand lady and said “which one of these guys is going to be slaughtered” and she pointed out the ones. She said that her favorite was this little girl goat, the only doe who was going to end up on a plate. She pointed her out as the one in the doorway of the little barn in the middle of the pen with the brown marking that looks like an english saddle. They called her “Saddle” because of that. They used her for 4H and showed her so she is actually good on a leash. As the farm hand called over to her from afar, the little thing did the head tilt, “arent I cute?!” motion. OK – I’ll take that one…..ugggg….my husband is gonna kill me…

So the farm hand lady goes in, easily puts a leash on her, and yes, dont you know she walks on a leash, unlike the screaming mess that was 107 who was all over the place as I was making this decision. Needless to say, the second she came out he was all good. Alright – I guess I’ll take two. They even gave me a two for one deal because they were happy to see her go to a home and not “up the ramp”….

Soooooo…..I planned to pick up the babies the Friday after Thanksgiving and put them in the barn that was delivered the previous Wednesday. I put the little child in the Jeep, and rigged a system to keep them in the trunk area. The last thing I wanted was goats in my back seat next to my 1 year old in his car seat. I threw a flake of hay back there to keep it clean should there be accidents, and provide a snack if they were nervous.

I went to the farm, paid for the goats (only $100 for the both of them!) and went to go get them. They grabbed “all hands on deck” as when someone goes into the pen, they scatter. Sure enough, they go in, everyone scatters, except for Seven and the doe. The doe because she was used to it. Seven, really because he was like “Hey, why is everyone running?” The workers picked them up, threw them in the back of my Jeep, and off we went. I was expecting pandemonium on the drive home, but was VERY HAPPILY surprised to see them just chilling out and eating. Looking in the rear view mirror, I could see Little Child in his car seat, completely content with the fact that there were two goats right behind him.

We got home, and I drove my Jeep to the back of the house (I have a fenced yard). Now, Old Dog was a concern. I figured I would have to keep them separated as he has never seen a goat, and he is grumpy. I was prepared to have to walk him on a leash either for a long time, or possibly forever.

My plan was to put the babies in the barn and close the door, and let Old Dog sniff around and get used to their scent, then later introduce them with a leash. Well, Old Dog had other plans. Somehow, and I STILL have no idea how, he got out of the house RIGHT as I was taking the girl goat out of the Jeep (Seven was already in the barn). She ran and tangled herself around my hitch and got stuck while the dog was coming RIGHT at her. Thankfully I grabbed him and put him back inside, but poor little girl, what a way to be welcomed home!

I put them in the barn and they were happily playing and eating and were quite comfortable. We built a pen next to the barn for them, and put a big Dogloo in there to keep them warm and dry. When Indy came, we moved them in their pen and all was well in the world. Indy was happy for goats, goats were happy with their place, and the dog….OH, the dog! HA. I walked the dog around their pen and he was actually kinda ok. Excited, but OK. The goats really werent put off from him, so I decided to bring the dog into the pen to see what would happen. WELLLLLLLL……..poor Sox! They PUMMELED THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF HIM!!!! NO ONE was going to bother them, and the dog quickly learned that! The horse declared himself the boss as well, and thankfully Sox was still able to have full reign of his backyard…

So we needed a name for our unexpectd girl goat. I was at a complete block. Then when telling my aunt about everything, she simply said “Soda”. How could I forget!!! In that SAME Seinfeld Episode, George Costanza would name his daughter….SODA. DONE!

I have to say that GOATS ARE AWESOME. They have full run of the back yard now as they outgrew the pen, and outgrew my expectation of size as well as they are HUGE, but it is perfect as they dont get underfoot of the horse. Indy is very pleased with his goat friends and has relaxed even more as they offer no competition/hierarchy issues for him. Yes, they can be skootches – as they are goats, and gardening with goats has been quite the challenge, but I made it work. They are also good dog friends, as they tire the puppy/new dog out, and make the old dog get up and move.

So theres my goat story! Now some pics!

Right after they came home and hanging in their pen. Look how TINY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversation between Kids (HA!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assuming the "Petting Zoo/Got Food?" position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Grown Now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No worries about the horse stepping on them

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone sleeps together and they wouldnt have it any other way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PARTY ANIMAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child/Goat Ratio - remember, he's a meat goat...

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Meet the Gang! Mr. Sox AKA Old Man Dog AKA Farty McFartster

So I chat about my kid, his animal friends, the recently deceased animals friends, etc. You know? I’m gonna have a “Animal Friend Spotlight”! I’m even going to create a Category!

The oldest by far in the household, by animal to human ratio of age, is our old man dog Sox.

Old Man Dog is probably going on about 13, and I can say that HE is the most favored by the small child in the home. I can honestly say that I dread the day when….well, now I’m getting upset….SUBJECT CHANGE!

So Mr. Sox as we refer to him was a pound dog from a kill shelter. When we thought it was the right time to add a woof to the household in 2000, the husband and I went to virtually every shelter on Long Island. Being Long Islanders, we of course went immediately to North Shore Animal League, the largest and probably most popular no kill shelter in the area. We looked around, but just didnt get “the click” you get when you find your next friend. There were so many volunteers that devoted their time that not one person could really tell us which dog would be good for us, other than looking at the place card on the kennel or cage. So we left.

Next we went over to Little Shelter in Huntington, which could probably be categorized as the second most popular non kill shelter. We actually had “a click” with a really fabulously awesome dog, but ANNOYINGLY, they wouldnt let us adopt him because we didnt have a fenced in yard. We didnt have a fenced in yard? Really? We were actually pretty annoyed but could understand the reasoning, as we were married 2 years, homeowners for 2 years, 20 something career folks, no children in the home….wait…you wouldnt let us adopt a dog from you because we didnt have a fence? OK…we moved on….

We went to a kill shelter and it just devastated me knowing that there were dogs that were going to meet an unhappy fate, or rather, an unjust fate of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and of course, non of the staff could recommend anyone to us. I left in tears…literally….

But then I found a volunteer organization that work outs of a kill shelter, and they evaluate every dog, do temperament tests and also work on training. The League For Animal Protection seemed like the PERFECT PLACE to go, so off we went!

We walked in to the sound of the barking dogs in their kennel runs and met with a shelter staff member, who put us with one of the volunteers who worked there, an elderly lady who comes once or twice a week to work with the dogs. We told her what we were looking for (young, medium to large size, friendly, good with children should the time come, etc). She said that she doesnt know all the dogs but does work with a few certain ones and has gotten to know them well. This is EXACTLY what we were looking for!

She directed us past a line of kennels where there was this one dog who was actually doing flips off the walls, not in an “Im crazy and confined” kinda way…..well ya, I think he was nuts – LOL.

We laugh at that guy and his nuttiness and turn the corner and arrive to an equally nutty dog, although he wasnt doing flips. “This is Sox” she tells us as she is kneeling down to catch the medium sized young adultish kinda guy who was going to dart the second she opened the cage. “The guy doing the flips over there in Dodger, and he, Sox, and another dog named Yankee all came in together and we think they were all brothers. Yankee got a home immediately after he got here, probably because of his name, but these two have been here for about a month.”

The man who caught the three dogs was a baseball fan, hence the Yankee, Dodger and Sox. Being Yankee fans, we werent going to hold that against the dog…

The lady tells us that Sox was a bit nutty because he was caged but when you got him on a leash and walked him, he would calm down really well. She led us out into the parking lot so we could take him for a walk. Sure enough, he was excited about being out, and his surroundings, but he did settle down!

It was an exceptionally hot August day, and we chose to not walk too far, so while chatting with the volunteer, we just happened to stop in front of our Jeep to continue our conversations. Barely a second before we came to a stop, Sox decided it was far too hot in the sun so he decided he was going to take a load off and relax……under our Jeep. Well, I guess thats the dog!

Serendipity.

So we said “we’ll take him!” We walked back to the facility to let Sox get a drink and cool off back in his kennel, then we headed to fill out the paperwork. The volunteer lady grabbed his file, and showed us his evaluation form, where he was described as “a very fun and friendly puppy”. I think the term “Wriggly” was in there too.

He still needed to be “tutored”, (go google  “Gary Larson, The Far Side, Tutored, then laugh…) so we said we would pick him up Labor Day weekend as we would have 3 days off and he could acclimate before we had to go back to work.

When the day came, we pulled into the shelter and could see him peeking out from his kennel and happily wagging his tail. The same volunteer lady was there to hand him over to us, so it was very full circle for her and she was happy to see him find a home, vs. the alternative (remember, this is a kill shelter).

He didnt know how to jump in the Jeep, so Steve had to lift him in. He stood on the center console, right smack in between us, and would lick Steve. I swear it was a “Thank You”. I specifically remember U2’s “Beautiful Day” making it’s debut on the radio, and ya, it was a beautiful day!

We took him immediately to the vet for a check up and the vet really liked him (and still does to this day). The vet figured he was an Akita/Pitbull/Shephard mix, and maybe about a year to a year and a half old. He was VERY underweight at 45 pounds.

As the years went on, he did typical dog things like bolting out the front door and running down the street, eating my couch, crapping on the floor EVERY TIME Steve took a shower (thankfully that only lasted a few months), sinking the first time he tried to swim, and pissing everywhere before he was diagnosed with bladder stones.

Good times! No, but really, they are.

Nutty, crazy, couldnt wait to bolt out of the kennel dog of 12 years ago is now old fart, 100 pound, lazy sack dog.

He’s losing his hearing but still tries to “be on top of things”, so he just barks at everything….real and imaginary.

He was 75 pounds when the small child arrived  home, and between discovering that the child is a walking vending machine, and the new dog’s food is better than his prescription, anti-peeing everywhere food, he has gained 25 pounds in about 4 years. But like me, he’s big, so he carries it well…..

He farts whenever he barks so I keep a bottle of Febreeze by the front door so whenever I come home, I can spray past the “welcome home!!!!” He could also easily clear a room. He has even caused me to wake from a deep sleep.What are we feeding this dog?! Oh ya…I remember…everything…

But he is the best bud to a 5 year old, can still give a goat a run for his money, and even though he is grumpy, can still play some mean fetch (although it is followed by 12 hours of sleep).

"Waiting by the door 2/14/2007" - AKA Gotcha Day Ice Storm

First couple of days home with Seoul Man

Dejected - Not the center of attention anymore!

Hey! There's fish in this pond!

LEAVES!

Kid makes a good pillow

Dog makes a good pillow when you are sick

Lounging in the sun on a warm winter day

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