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Unusual pets Part Two

March 30, 2011

Though we were primarily a one-pet family (that pet being dear Valentine), in addition to Herbie the mouse, there was one other time when we had a second pet. He came into the family after Dad bought the land next to the house, stretching down to the county road. It was a field, full of tall grasses and weeds.

One day, Dad came home with a goat. His idea was to put the goat house in a certain spot and the goat would eat all the field grasses in that area, and then the goat house could be moved to another area for the same treatment.

Which is how it worked – except that we kids, of course, adopted the goat as our pet. He was named William T. Goat (the T. being for The), and we called him Willy Goat.

We would get home from school and run out to his goat house to say hello. In response, he would rub the little nub of his horns against our hands and bleat. We loved Willy, and I think he loved us, too.

But here’s the strange part of the Willy story, stranger than having a pet goat when you don’t have a farm (you knew there had to be a weird part, didn’t you?):

We three girls all played instruments throughout all of our school years: one the clarinet, another the trumpet, and me the saxophone.  During the time Willy was with us, we would regularly take our music, our music stands and our instruments out to the field and practice. We’d give al fresco concerts out in the side yard, with Willy as our appreciative audience. I’m sure the neighbors driving by thought the whole lot of us were nuts.

We would visit Willy in the morning while waiting for the school bus, and run like the dickens from the field to the end of the driveway when Mrs. Warner squealed to a stop. We were the only kids on the bus route that had a pet goat.

One morning (I seem to remember it was Good Friday or some time around Easter), we woke up to find that Willy was gone. Maybe he was just inside the goat house, sleeping late, we thought, but when we ran out to check, he was definitely gone. Even worse, he hadn’t gotten loose, he had been stolen, his collar removed. We alerted everyone we could. Over the next couple of weeks, we got a few lead about white goat sightings, and Dad even drove us out to Brewerton and Hastings to scope out a few places where people reported Willy might be.

Alas, we never found sweet Willy. Dad was certain that someone stole him for their Easter dinner, a thought that horrified me.  Dad didn’t get another goat, and finished clearing the field himself.

We moved the goat house to the back yard for Valentine, thinking she could use it in bad weather. But she never, ever went in it. Even during torrential rains or blizzards, she would stand next to it, probably remembering when she had to share our love with a goat.

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From → Rambling stories

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