George the Goat
The Good Times and the Sad Times
As our wee business grows, we are always delighted to attend new venues and meet new people. And so, when we were invited along to a local Country Show, we jumped at the chance. It's always fantastic to attend these shows with local farmers, crafters and sometimes a bit of the unusual too (mainly that’s us!) all in attendance.
We were next door to a collection of small animals; including a wee calf, sheep and a goat. He was a Boer goat – a breed used for meat.
So...here’s how this story goes.
Goaty was in the pen next door. He was very cute, very naughty and an instant hit with everyone.
Our great friend Jill came along to the show to help me. Jill is someone who has a ‘look’ and an ability to say something which you do not argue back with. I was running the treks, Jill was in charge of our area; so, she had lots of time to chat to other stall holders. Oh, and now is a good time to tell you she is vegetarian – this is an important part of the story.
Upon loading up at the end of the day, Jill announced she had cut a deal with the goat breeder; that he was too cute to eat and that he was being delivered to Beirhope the following week. She had also agreed a bargain price for him. All we needed was a name. As a joke to wind up my dad George, we had the perfect name right there - George the Goat.
A week later George arrived, delivered directly into our barn from the boot of a Suzuki Grand Vitara. He would need kept in the barn for a couple of weeks apparently. Has anyone ever tried to keep a goat in anywhere?!?
George free ranged; going where he wanted, when he wanted. He ate the pansies in my plant pots and once made it to the veg patch. George was a real nightmare to keep in; his blatant disregard for rules just made him even more loveable.
One day, the Council were visiting ahead of some scheduled road works. George felt his presence was required and if only I could have captured the foreman’s face as George jumped a 7-bar gate to come and say hi. I did get told in no uncertain terms to keep him under control during the roadworks.
George loved people. We had builders for a few weeks and George spent every day with them – our very own clerk of works! For two years I’d see flashes of white & brown speed past as he’d run the gauntlet past the house to the pansy pots. If we were loading Alpacas for a day out or had family/friends for a BBQ, George felt his presence was needed too. I did once move the burger buns out of the way, but I’m not totally convinced they weren’t laced with goat lick.
He’d pop to the trekkers barn just to say hi and many times I’ve held very sensible conversations with people while having a goat on a lead rope. Eventually, we came to terms with our free-range goat and just went with it. I did warn our neighbours that ‘finder’s keepers’ was the rule. They never found him – fancy that. George had legend status.
In November of 2020 I noticed George wasn’t ‘right’. The vet came the same day and very quickly the situation became serious. I think it is fair to say our vet went above and beyond in trying to save George. We had numerous visits and trips to collect other medications. Sadly, George didn’t make it and we lost him after 5 days of battling to save him. I was heartbroken.
George was the biggest nuisance ever, he seemed to time his escapades to the very worst of moments. I’ve been late so many times to meetings because he got his head stuck in the stock fence in a field that he wasn’t supposed to be in, but I would never swap our time with him. He’s left an enormous gap in our lives and I know we would never ever get another George.
Dealing with loss is very much part of keeping livestock, however it’s never taken lightly. The care and attention George received in his last few days by everyone involved was wonderful. We remember with great fondness George the Goat and have no doubt that where ever he is, the pansy pots will never need weeded!