This short read has the potential to be a strange ride.
So, I’ll dive right in.
Nearly two years ago, I read a news story about an incident that happened in Nigeria. Basically, the story went like this: A man stole a car. A group of vigilante pursued the car thief. As they chased him, the thief transformed into a goat.
Stay with me.
The vigilante then turned the goat over to police who paraded the animal in front of a crowd of journalists who photographed the “culprit” and wrote stories about it.
The story fascinated me.
A few weeks ago, I read another story about two goats who wandered on a 6-inch ledge of a Montana bridge and stayed there for nearly two days until rescuers used a cherry picker to pluck them from their perch, safe but hungry.
Those two stories convinced me that there might be something universally interesting when goats make the news. So, I set up a news alert for the words “goat” or “goats.”
I have not been disappointed. Goats in the news lead to many things and places I’ve never considered.
For example, I’ve learned that members of the Indiana National Guard are being trained in goat farming before they go to Afghanistan where they will work with the region’s farmers.
In Uganda, the Royal Ascot Goat Races are considered to be the socialite event of the year, complete with celebrities, glamorous fashion and lots of food and prizes.
In Seattle, a company that used goats to clear land left a goat named Betty White at a park. The New Moon Farm Goat Rescue and Sanctuary eventually rescued Betty.
Police in Santa Fe, NM, are, apparently, still searching for the suspect who killed a pet goat named Maria in a drive-by shooting. Its grieving owner, who did not want to be identified, told reporters that the goat brought the neighborhood together.
Goats are to weird news the gift that keeps on giving.
Even the Wall Street Journal can’t resist a good goat story. On Sept. 17, the paper featured a page-one story about a Wisconsin restaurateur who trademarked goats eating grass on the roof of his restaurant. The restaurateur sued a grass-roofed Georgia market that also put goats on their roof. After some wrangling, the Georgia market bought rights for goats on their roof from the trademark holder in Wisconsin.
Last week, tragic goat news struck. An experienced hiker in Olympic National Park was attacked and killed by a mountain goat. It’s the first such death, according to park officials. The man was hiking with two friends when the goat came too close, eventually goring the man in the leg and then standing guard preventing others from rescuing the dying man. The goat has since been killed and his brain is being analyzed.
I’ve also had plenty of local goat encounters. I’ve met more goat farmers in the past few months than I ever knew were in the region. I haven’t sought them. They just appear in my everyday life.
My goat experiment has been a reminder of all the strange and wonderful things out there. I just have to be curious enough and open-minded enough to look and listen.