At this point, some of my readers might be asking: “How can you keep on writing about an old dirty goat?”
Because it’s all in fun. Laugh a little.
Well, to begin with, he is not old and he is most definitely not dirty. I see to that on a regular basis. I keep him clean. He might not like it, but oh well. You know how a child will twist and turn when you are wiping it’s mouth? Gremlin is no different. In some cases, it’s hell to pay. He kicks and cries just like a baby. One thing about it though, babies don’t have sharp hoofs. Have you ever been kicked by a pissed-off goat? It hurts. I know for a fact he is cleaner than a lot of people.
I will admit he is in denial about being a goat. If he could talk himself he would tell you he is not a goat. I can testify to that. He does not act like a goat, he does not sound like a goat and he surely does not smell like a goat. He does not associate with other goats and they do not want to have anything to do with him, either. But, of course, he looks like a goat and we know he is a goat. I don’t want to hurt his little goat feelings and you should not either. You would not want Gremlin talking trash to you about your looks, so let us all be civil. Let Gremlin be what he wants to be — that being as human as he thinks he is. There is nothing nice about hurting a human or animal’s feelings. Gremlin would agree with those words.
I do have to admit that at different times in his youth, I wanted to change his name from Gremlin to Barbecue. The thought of placing Gremlin on a sesame-seed bun and chewing Gremlin up was only brought on because of him being so mischievous and chewing the tags off of my stock. You see, in his younger days, anything at head height to him, being at 8 inches, was going to be chewed up. I can not tell you why but at one point the goat was fixated with one of my Browning shotguns. Not the shotgun itself but the tag. In one day, he had chewed the tag off of that weapon no less than five times. Not the same tag but five replacement tags. That same day, Gremlin got a taste for rugs. He was chewing the corner of the rug in front of my desk. I saw him and stopped him — I thought. There was another rug in a corner that he found. I was busy doing paperwork and did not notice him for 20 minutes.
Let me tell you: when a child or a goat is being quiet, you better be finding out why. By the time I had got to him, he had chewed the entire corner off. After that he had found a ball of twine. It was not twine anymore — it was more along the line of shreds. That was a bad day for the both of us. At that time, he was incarcerated into his box. He did not like it at all. On that day, he learned how to jump out of that box. That would be the day of learning how to jump from one thing to another. Nothing was safe; everything was fair game to Gremlin.
Jumping became a game for Gremlin. He started jumping onto the customers’ chairs when there were no customers in the shop. Then he would jump from chair to chair. He became quite agile for his age. But I guess that is what a goat is all about, being very agile. If there were customers in the shop, it did not matter to Gremlin. If they happened to be in his chair, that did not matter either. You see, Gremlin did not mind sharing his chairs with the customers. I mean, if you were in Gremlin’s chair and he was in the mood to jump, he was going to be standing in your lap in short order. Some of the customers did not mind his playfulness, whereas others were scared to death by this little 10-inch demon. On two separate days, I had grown men run from the baby goat for fear of being bitten. It was so funny; as they ran, the goat — of course — chased them. He had learned the chase game from me. I would show friends and customers how fast he could run by running from him. So, after that, anyone who ran from Gremlin was going to be chased. The one guy did jump up onto one of my counters to get away from the goat. It was so funny — he screamed like a little girl. The goat was standing on his hind legs; he just wanted to play. The man was begging me to please take the goat away and I did.
As the weeks have gone by, Gremlin has become too destructive to bring into the shop. Now he is a farm goat and does not like it, not at all. On the first day that he was left home, it was heartbreaking. He cried and cried to come to work with me. That was because until that day, coming to work with me was all he had ever known. At night, he still slept on the back porch in his box. Then I decided to put him in with the other goats. That was even harder to deal with. On his first day, just like with some children’s first day at school, he did not just cry — he screamed and screamed. I felt like a worthless surrogate mama goat on that day. To watch my baby goat running behind my truck and screaming all the way out to the road was too much to deal with. Just like any other good mama, I went back and got him. I gave him another bottle and put him in a small pen. He still cried.
By this time it had gotten a bit warmer outside and it was time for him to stay outside all night. That was tough and I would go out to check on him at all hours of the night. Even harder was cutting back on the number of bottles that I was giving him. He was cut back to two bottles but I was still giving him the same amount, that being about a quart at a time. I know what real goat farmers are saying. That was too much. Maybe so, but he is now twice the size of goats that were born on the same day. I have a monster goat. Still, the other goats will not have anything to do with him, other than being knocked down by the bigger goats. That’s the way goats are, they’re mean to the smaller and younger ones. It’s over food most of the time. With all the milk that I was giving him, he was not even trying to drink water; he did not have to. He was cut back to one bottle a day. Then it happened: I saw him, for the first time, sip a bit of water — not much, but enough, I guess. I was so happy to see this take place.
This past weekend I was pleased to see that he does have a girlfriend. One of the other babies started playing with him. If you have ever seen babies playing, it is a treat for the eyes. After warming about 350 bottles of milk, he is not a baby goat anymore. He is now a young goat. But if you see him don’t tell him that. He still thinks he’s human. So, you think you want a baby goat?
Robert Lee is a concerned citizen and U.S. Marine veteran who owns and operates Rockingham Guns and Ammo. His column appears here each Saturday.