Job, Harriet, Heidi and Nana
22nd December 2013
Nobody’s Goat – a Christmas Story of Hope
“He’s nobody’s goat, he’s nobody’s goat.” That was the message that went out recently regarding a large white male goat and his three offsiders. Running free for over five years, the wily troupe traversed the mountainous range of Mt Gisborne; navigating fences and surviving inhospitable terrain but due to their potentially deadly proximity to busy, major roads, the time had come for their dare devil escapades to end. Given their keen sense of agility and quick turn of speed, coupled with the vast domain on which they roamed, the prospects of corralling the goats was nigh impossible and so a cull order had been sort.
“Pam, I hate to even ask this but is there any chance you could…?” Our hearts sank at the prospect before us, and whilst we know that no one would have judged us harshly had we not attempted this rescue, given the enormity of the task and short window of opportunity, we wanted to give it our best shot (pardon the pun)- it was, after all, Christmas- a time of joy and goodwill. But we knew we could not do it alone. No posse of kind hearted foot soldiers would have ever been able to convince the goats to surrender their life on the run and so it was to our dear friend Manfred, from Five Freedoms Animal Rescue that we turned. Manfred is not only an expert aim with a dart gun but is also possessed with great knowledge of the intricacies of trapping free roaming ‘wild’ animals. Most importantly, he is too possessed with the kindest of hearts.
Over five gruelling hours in painstaking heat and challenging country, Manfred stalked the goats; hiding behind trees, silently listening for movement, binoculars poised for any sign of the foursome. And one by one he found them, bringing their adventures to a temporary halt. The task of retrieving the down animals was hampered not only by the steep mountainous country but also by the jungle-like grass and cursed scotch thistles that too had claimed the land as their own. So high, thick and dense was the vegetation in places that if the person standing next to you bobbed down you could not see them for love nor money. And when not doing battle with these elements it was the acute angle of the pine forest’s earth on which we stood that saw us bottom surfing south! But somehow, after some time, we did it!! And in the back of the Kindness Rescue Van four very groggy goats were to eventually sleep and snore peacefully.
Job, is the large white male goat and is the leader of the troupe. He is so named after the biblical character noted for his incredible patience; for it was the patience of a Saint that we we’re all required to evoke to make this rescue possible. Harriet is the smaller, shaggy brown girl and is surprisingly comfortable and even welcoming of our presence, while Heidi her older ‘sister’ is more standoffish and says her trust is something we shall have to earn. And then there is dear little Nana, an ancient diminutive white goat, who sports a broken horn, a crippled front leg and two stoic, albeit wobbly, front teeth. Nana is a goat you just want to cuddle and love forever and whisper in her sage like ear that everything will be all right.
We are indebted to the kindness of the Macedon Ranges Shire Rangers for allowing us the opportunity to give the goats a humane outcome and to Manfred from Five Freedoms Animal Rescue for confirming our belief that good things are possible no matter how prickly the situation. And we thank the landholders across whose properties we traversed for your patience and understanding. We share the collective relief of all those who knew of the dire predicament in which the goats had found themselves and take great comfort in knowing that hearts will not have to be hardened to cope with the unwelcome outcome had the goats been shot and killed.
The rescue of Job, Harriet, Heidi and Nana serves to remind one and all that peace can reign supreme on earth, all it takes is a good and determined shot of human kindness.
Footnote to this story: Dear Job was wearing a collar (and a very tight one at that) and was castrated; this tells us that he was indeed someone’s goat at one time. But for now he remains nobody’s goat, for he and his buddies are not possessions, they are sentient beings, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that will be treated as someone, not something forevermore.