Pack & Goat


This is Linus* a half-pigmy/half-fainting goat. He lives on a nearby farm (where the “yak cows” reside, mentioned here).

Frequently, our neighbor Liz babysits Linus during the day, toting him around on errands; Linus rides in Liz’s lap as she drives to the bank, gas station and store. And why not? Linus is an amenable passenger and so portably compact, he fits in a tote bag.

One summer afternoon Liz stopped by and released Linus among our crew. He was astonishingly composed among curious cats and impatient, pawing kids.

Martin has been nagging for more sheep, I thought, watching Linus explore the porch. Maybe I can ply him with a little goat.

It was easy to imagine Linus, or one of his brethren, joining us. He’s impossibly cute and tidy-looking — his snow-white coat and inky markings far cleaner than the dingy stuffed animals around here. I imagined Linus’ tiny hooves clattering on the kitchen floor and his bug-eyed face peering from the car beside Maisie. He’d be a photogenic addition to the blog.

But thoughts of Linus dredged up advice from our neighbor Chet, tripping the memory like a silent bank alarm. A few years ago Martin launched a brief but passionate “let’s get goats” campaign. I was stalling but wavering when Martin voiced his goat-hopes to Chet. Idling in his car, arm crooked out the window, Chet listened to the pitch. When Martin finished, Chet motioned us close.

“Want to know what I think?” he asked, glancing around secretively. “Goats are wonderful animals…

…when someone else owns them.  You don’t need goats,” he said.

And we don’t. Linus is a nice, neighboring addition to the blog.

*Apparently the goat’s real name is Fritz. Minor technicality. I asked Fritz; he said he didn’t mind being called Linus.