a worthwhile detour

Friday afternoon, I ditched work early and we took a ride out towards the coast for an early dinner at one of our favorite casual spots. Because we could. Along the way, we decided to turn off on a long twisty road that leads up to the cliffs above the ocean. We were going to check out the beautiful view and just enjoy the ride. Nestled in the rolling green hills are a few farms and historic ranches with cows and goats grazing on fresh spring grasses. Surprisingly, very few people pass by here, aside from an occasional rancher, neighbor or biker.

As we approached a huge herd of goats crowding by a roadside fence, they suddenly scattered and left one little goat all alone. As we passed by, we could see the lone goat’s head was stuck in the metal wire fence. He was struggling to free himself, to no avail. His horns were locked and he could not get out. We turned around and stopped to try to help him. A biker passing by had already tried and failed.

The goat was distressed, he had been struggling a while. A tuft of his coat was on the fence. It is not uncommon for goats with horns to get stuck in this way, and they can easily strangle themselves or become vulnerable to predators. He looked scared and exhausted. His warm, brown almond-shaped eyes seemed to be pleading. 

We approached him slowly and talked in a calm, comforting way. M looked the little guy in the eyes. “Hey buddy,” he said sweetly. “It’s okay,” I told him. We gently petted his head. He was trusting, as if he knew we wanted to help. Then M earned his name (Amazing), when he tenderly maneuvered the little guy’s head and somehow loosened the fence just enough to free his horns, one at a time. When he was finally loose, we cheered and told him “go ahead, be free!”

As soon as he realized he was free, he took off and ran excitedly back to his herd (which by then appeared to have forgotten about him). We watched as he headed across the hill enjoying his newfound freedom, his tail happily flopping in the wind. It was such a sweet moment that made my whole day, week even. I called M “my hero” the rest of the night.  

No, that’s not him, but a distant relative, perhaps. 

{ETA: I wish I was clever enough to think of this title before: “a kid of a different kind”]

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~ by luna on April 19, 2008.

10 Responses to “a worthwhile detour”

  1. That’s a nice story. And I can see why you would call M your hero!

  2. Hi Luna –

    Great story! Helping an animal who might otherwise suffer or perish leaves you with a great feeling, huh? That goat was lucky you and your hero came along when you did.

    I lived in the bay area for a long time, so of course I was wondering where you went for dinner!

  3. How great (and providential) that you arrived to help. And I hereby give to the Amazing M his new native American name: Dances with Goats!

  4. I’ve concluded over the course of my life that lost, hurt, in-trouble animals gravitate towards humans they know will help them. I’m happy you and your husband are “these people,” and the little guy clearly knew you were, too. Not everyone would’ve stopped, and clearly the goat wouldn’t have relaxed for just anyone, either. Kudos. And I hope dinner was great.

  5. Just wonderful.

  6. Beautiful! Saving a life creates the best kind of karma.

  7. Thank you!

  8. Wonderful story. It made me want to prance around like a happy, free goat.

    May we all find our M.s to extricate us from the fence!

  9. Great story!

  10. What a wonderful story! And I’m sure that goat will be forever grateful to you and M!

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