By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS managing editor
Since our dog kept escaping from his pen, my boyfriend and I brainstormed long for a feasible solution.
No, we didn’t leave him tied to that massive chain – frankly, that experiment only lasted half a day as my boyfriend felt guilty. Neither did we sell the dog to a dog glue factory in Maine.
We bought a goat. Actually, we bought two goats.
Although it may not seem a logical solution – your dog escapes so buy two goats – much thought was involved in the process. I have wanted a goat for a very long time, or at least since my move to New Mexico five months ago.
True, goats are not necessarily synonymous with the Land of Enchantment. They seem most likely to be found in places where hills are green and girls are named Heidi. But we felt goats would add that needed sparkle to our 2 1/2 acres of land, part of which still needs to get mowed.
Besides, we needed something to fill the dog pen. So our gorgeous goats, a nanny named Chanticleer (Shanty for short) and her coy son Oliver, now stand around chewing sweet horse feed while the massive weeds they are supposed to eat on grow 9 inches taller by the day.
When they do decide to chomp on natural growths, Oliver nibbles at the dried brown sticks while Shanty gnaws dirt clumps or rock.
Both are rapidly getting to know us and learning new tricks, as long as the escaping dog is not around to torment them. Oliver actually lets us touch his head – a big feat since he ran scared when he first met us, especially when we had his reproductive organs tied off with a rubber band.
Shanty has learned to stomp her foot when I sing to her, how to push Oliver away from the sweet horse feed and how to bite my forearm as if it were a corncob.
But her biggest trick of all has brought us grief – Shanty has learned to escape.
At first we thought the dog/goat pen was not secure enough so we tethered all posts up and tightened all wire. Then we learned her escape route was a simple leap.
Yes, this 100-pound goat, who happens to be pregnant, merrily leaps the fence as if she were performing at the county fair.
When she gets to the other side, of course, she stands there screaming because her son is still in the fence. Her son gets upset and he starts screaming – sort of like when he saw the rubber band – and a massive goat scream fest ensures, lasting for several hours or until we get Shanty back in the pen.
Alas, out came the chain once again and it was attached to her collar. We also bought her a bell so we can hear if she goes trotting down the road.
So far she has knocked over the massive basket of bricks to which she was chained and then broke the wire on the basket. We found her screaming and trotting down the road with the neck chain dragging lazily behind her.
My boyfriend and I are confused. We wish to discern why animals keep escaping from our yard. My theory is the pen is haunted, or perhaps a capybara lay lurking in the rapidly expanding weeds. Or maybe Shanty is mad because the bell around her neck was labeled “cow bell” at the feed store.
My boyfriend thinks Shanty wants to return to her former barn and she thinks it’s just around the corner (although it’s really a couple of miles away).
In any event, we now surely have an added sparkle to our yard, not to mention our lives, with our two gorgeous goats. We get a sparkle, a concert and much exercise when we take off chasing Shanty and her clingy clangy cow bell.