13th July 2012
He was a goat from the wrong side of the tether. Crusty, strong willed, untrusting, oh so smelly, and with a set of the best horns we have seen in a long time – and boy did he know how to use them! His calloused neck, a legacy of a life on a chain told a sorry story of a goat forgotten, and his bad attitude – a life mistreated. Yet somewhere in his bleak past we could see there was an inkling of a kind and trusting goat anxiously waiting to butt in. If we could say words to Groucho he could understand they would be “we’re sorry buddy, we’re truly sorry our species has wronged you so badly” but he doesn’t understand our words, only our actions.
The Marx Brother goats of Groucho, Harpo and Chico arrived early in July. The sweet and friendly Harpo and Chico quickly found a loving home, but for the grouchy and headstrong Groucho it was painfully evident he was a goat only a not for profit sanctuary for rescued farmed animals could ever love and love him we have; each day offering him a selection of treats and companionship. At first Groucho didn’t really understand either. He would lick his lips, take a step back, launch onto his hind legs and advance head bowed proffering his most threatening ‘en garde’ position. But finding his unwitting opponent not retreating or returning his thunder he would stand flat-footed, head cocked, offering his best ‘well what do I do now?’ look.
Offering Groucho a treat became a near death experience as he would eye suspiciously, then quickly snatch the delicious morsel from our hands returning with his best left hook from a well used horn and wait in anticipation for what we suspect was historically some sort of taunt. Slowly, the astute Groucho realised that there was indeed to be no hidden nasty surprises with our peace offerings.
As the days have melted on Groucho has mellowed into a much more amiable fellow. He still has his bursts of bravado but they are tempered by a much more kindly goat and his lowered and offered head seeks not to butt you but requesting of a scratch behind the ear and a much welcomed touch of human kindness. Something he needs a lot of catching up on if you are brave.