The day started out auspiciously enough.
To begin with, it was a Saturday and I was visiting two of my favourite people. I had earlier spent the morning at the beach, and then in the late afternoon had driven into the mountains to visit family.
It was shortly after I arrived that Tanya said, “We have new neighbours.” There was something in her voice which made it clear these neighbours were not Smiths or Joneses.
“Oh yes?” I responded, thinking maybe they were drug dealers or celebrities.
“Yes,” she continued confidently. “Two goats.”
“Oohhhhh,” was my response. I didn’t really know what else to say.
Tanya went on to explain that their closest neighbours had recently acquired two goats which were super cute. The owners, however, did not look after them properly. On a massive block of acreage, they were kept permanently chained to metal poles in the middle of a rocky dirt field with no access to shelter. Their chains (about five meters long) would get twisted around the poles and shortened on a daily basis. The goats had one dirty, slime-slicked plastic container of water to share between them. It didn’t get changed a lot. And when the goats ranged about and got their chains twisted around their poles, they invariably could not reach their water.
We walked a few minutes’ to where these new neighbours resided. Their permanent address was a large circle in a parched field about 200 metres from their owners’ house. They had eaten most of the grass already.
I have very little experience in goats. I would go so far as to say none, with the exception of the petting zoo which visited my primary school once.
The first goat I met was Billy. He was Billy because of the massive ball sack slapping around behind him. Billy was black, had matted, dirt-caked fur, an abnormal growth in his belly and enormous horns. Despite all of this, Billy was quite friendly,
The second goat was Nanny. Nanny was tall and slender, whereas Billy was short and squat. Nanny was white and, I was soon to learn, quite aggressive.
Now, it is important at this juncture to understand that Tanya is the Animal Whisperer. She has no fear, and exudes and genuine love and understanding of animals. She will march right up to an aggressive goat and demand to cuddle it, with no thought that it could headbutt her or attempt to eat her pants. If it is being bossy, she finds it cute.
I, however, have a more cautious way about me when it comes to animals larger than a cat or dog. I wanted to trust Billy and Nanny. I really did. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that Billy’s monstrous horns where going to meet with my poor, fleshy bottom. Or that Nanny’s hooves were going to somehow kick the shit out of me whilst I lay curled in a foetal position on the rocky ground, yelling for her to stop. “Ow- (kick) stop, Nanny, please stoopppp (stomp)!!!”
I had finished patting sweet, horned Billy. Tanya was giving Nanny some attention, and I was hanging around nearby, looking like the pole to that which she was tied to, albeit white-coloured.
Suddenly there was a flurry of activity. Nanny started bleating and circling me. At the same time, Tanya was trying to unravel her knotted chain and make it longer. My life flashed before my eyes as Nanny’s chain wrapped tightly around my knees not once, but twice. I couldn’t move. I was hobbled. Nanny bleated at me.
Rarely have I felt so helpless. Here, looking into the shrewd eye of the white-and-pink Nanny goat who had imprisoned me and was now trying to eat my jeans, I felt genuine fear. I froze, and could only yell anxiously, “Help! Tanya, help me, help me! I’m dying!”
Nanny continued to chew at my jeans. Tanya continued to unknot her chain.
“Tanya, please help me! I’m dying!”
Tanya strode over and untangled me, pushing Nanny away from my pants.
“I nearly died, I nearly died!” Was all I could say.
Tanya laughed and patted Nanny while I ran away.
That night I regaled townsfolk at the local pub with the tale of my near-death. Well, not quite. We went to the local pub, and when there was a break in conversation I said to Tanya, “Wow, I can’t believe how I nearly died today,” and we both laughed. It would be like a bunny rabbit slaying a German Shepherd.
The next afternoon Tanya insisted on checking up on her friends. I was less enthusiastic, but was made to get back on the horse, so as to speak. We both took with us big bunches of fennel and parsley which were growing wild and unused in the garden.
I fed Billy, not wanting to approach Nanny. If it’s a thing for humans to assert their dominance and fearlessness over creatures in order to be safe, than I was screwed. Nanny scared me.
The goats loved the parsley more than the fennel. Once they’d eaten everything and Tanya had played with them both, they head-butted each other for a while, ritualistically. Just think, that could have been me.
I risked life and limb to capture some photos of the accursed beasts, which you can see below.
WARNING: Graphic Images.