Someone once said that our perfect companions never have less than four feet! In our house, we agree! Dogs, cats, horses, pigs, fish – makes no difference to us. We love them all. Mom and Dad are always talking about how they believe that God gives people the responsibility and privilege to care for our furry friends. Chloe and I, along with the rest of our gang, are so thankful our parents feel that way or we wouldn’t be a family.
When we moved to Boyle County this past March, we found ourselves in the midst of horses, cows, pigs and goats – and of course more dogs and cats. Last week, Mom received a text from our neighbor, Debbie. (Debbie, along with her grandchildren, Avery, Grant and twins Maddy and Kendall, are also the Official Dog Sitters of The Gang.) Debbie said Avery had two baby goats at the house and knew Mom and Dad would enjoy seeing them. Chloe and I wanted to go but Mom said we might scare the kids.
“But Mom, the kids love us!” I replied.
“I was referring to the baby goats, Woody,” Mom laughed, ruffling my hair. “They’re called kids.”
“Oh, I knew that,” I said, trying to recover.
Mom and Dad trekked next door and was greeted by Debbie, her four grandkids and the two kids (baby goats, that is). Of course, my parents fell in love. Dad grew up on a farm and was no stranger to goats, but Mom had never held one before. She even got to feed the goat its bottle! When my parents returned home, they showed us pictures and told us all about them.
“They are Avery’s goats,” Mom informed. “The kids weren’t getting enough milk from their mom so Avery and her family are bottle-feeding them.”
We first met Avery several years ago when we spent the day and evening at Perryville Elementary School here in Boyle County. At that time, we didn’t have any idea we would be living in the Perryville area, right next door to her grandmother. A few days after my parents visited the baby goats, Mom and I were talking to Avery, who is now 12 years old and a 7th grader at Boyle County Middle School, and we asked her how it all got started.
“When I was 5, my mother and I went to the Boyle County 4H/FFA Investment in Youth Sale. One of the goats going through the sale had pink and purple spray-painted legs, so I turned to my mother and said, ‘Mommy, I want a pink and purple goat.’ And thus, began my obsession. The following spring, I purchased my first goat, Diego.”
I asked Avery if Diego was pink and purple but she said he wasn’t. And she said Diego was the first of many goats. Just by talking to Avery, we learned lots of facts. Young goats – whether they are boys or girls – are called kids. Female goats are called does or nannies. Male goats are called billies or bucks and male goats who’ve been altered are called wethers.
“What do you do with all those goats?” I asked.
“We breed them or show them. The wethers I show are meat goats so the judges are looking for muscle and shape. There’s a lot that goes into preparing for a show from working the goats with our Secret Work-Out Schedule or clipping them perfectly, working to teach them to lead, brace and stand still for long periods of time. Teaching them has to start when they are very early if we want them to be good.”
Avery has shown goats at the Boyle County Fair, Kentucky State Fair, and many other events. And she’s been overall Grand Champion numerous times. In addition, Avery was named Outstanding 4-Her in Boyle County this past year! How incredible is that! Not only does Avery love goats, but all the other animals too – which is why her dream is to be a veterinarian. She even got a microscope for Christmas!
As impressive as that is, we don’t have to compete in shows or own scientific equipment to benefit animals. We just have to make sure our friends have food and water, plenty of exercise and lots of love. So, in this season of bitter cold and snow, make sure your animals are well cared for. Clean their feet and bellies after they walk and remember their paws can get frostbite if they are outside too long. And don’t forget about our friends at the local animal shelter. Help them out by donating blankets and extra food. It’s all part of Working and Dreaming like a BIG DOG!
PS – A little joke for you about goats:
Why did the dog stop talking to the goat?
Because he kept butting in!