New Neighbors: Vixen and Petal

My welcome to Eaton’s Creek in late June 2016 was two goats. I knew moving in that I had goats for neighbors. What I didn’t realize was how often they’d be grazing on my land.

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Petal and Vixen grazing on my back hill

According to their owners, they were smart enough to get out of just about any gate or fence. I didn’t really mind. After all, I love animals. And for the most part, they stayed out of my garden areas so I couldn’t complain too much.

There was a time or two when I had to shoo them away from the gardens, but it wasn’t like I had any plans to plant anything this year. My main goal was to simply get them used to not grazing there.

The first time Kitty’s Burkes saw them was a different story… You can tell he was like WTF?

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He was frozen in this stance for quite a while

But he got used to them.

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It didn’t take long for Kitty Burkes to ignore the goats

There was even a point where the goats seemed a little hesitant when they saw Kitty Burkes. I left the back door open so Burkes was watching them through the glass door as they walked down the driveway. The both startled and stood totally still for a few minutes as they stared at him, making sure he couldn’t get past the glass door. It was funny.

As you can probably tell, I grew attached to the goats. I work from home, so I would often find them watching me through the window…

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Petal and Vixen watching me work

Occasionally, I would go outside and try to pet them. Vixen, the multi-color goat was the alpha and she was a little skittish. I was only able to pet her once. But the dark goat, Petal, was much more friendly. She would let me pet her.

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Precious Petal

One day as I was leaving to run some errands, a couple of dogs crossed the creek in front of my house.

 

The dark dog was the first to approach my carport and seemed friendly enough to me, but he kept looking behind his should towards the creek where the other dog was crossing, then looking over his other shoulder to the hill where the goats were grazing. Once the husky made it up to the bull dog, they went after the goats like two drunk dudes leaving a bar.

Petal quickly jumped under the fence, so she was safe. At that point, both the dogs went after Vixen. I yelled and swatted my arms and tried to stop them, but Vixen was skittish and almost as scared of me as she was of them so it was difficult to let her know that I was on her side. They ran around the yard a few times and she dived to my patio. They were nipping and biting at her and she was trying to butt them with her horns. Once she was on the patio, it looked like the husky nipped her pretty good and she yelled.

I was fed up at that point. I screamed at them to stop and, I guess by sheer will-power, made it happen. The dogs stalled and I tried to express to Vixen that she could run past me, so she ran back to her property to stand with Petal on the top of the hill by their house.

So now, I’m standing in the gate between the fences and the husky tries to go around me but I yell at him and he stops. I yell at them both to go and, finally, they turn around and cross back over the creek.

I look back up the hill behind me and the goats are standing there watching me. I walk up to them and they run to their shed. I pull their gate closed so that the dogs don’t get any ideas should they return.

I call the owner and try to explain the issue. She seemed more concerned that the goats were annoying me so she said she would lock up the gate. I think she missed the part where the dogs might have wounded Vixen.

It was was a very hot July and the heat index was horrid. About a week later I had not seen the dogs again and texted her to let her know maybe she could let the goats out. She thanked me, but never came. Another week later and the goats still hadn’t been released but I debated on whether or not I should contact her again. Some of my friends were saying I was worrying too much about the goats.

Then one Friday just after lunch I was outside and heard one of the goats bleating. It did not sound like a healthy “pet me” bleat. It sounded bad so I went and snuck a peak. I had peaked in on them before and they seemed fine, regardless of their dirty surroundings. But this time it was Vixen. She was lying in the sun (it was a very, VERY hot that day) and her neck looked all sweaty. She was facing the woods and just yelling with her tongue sticking out. I called for Petal but couldn’t find her so I thought maybe Vixen was worried about Petal.

I called their owner and let her know. She said she would be there, but apparently she did not make it until after dark. At that point, Vixen was dead. She called me the next morning to warn me that the poor goat would be on the side of the road next to our (shared) driveway over the weekend awaiting removal by Metro the next Monday. She assured me that Petal would be re-homed, but I still cried when I got off the phone. That poor goat. Vixen didn’t deserve that. She was a pet. Not a farm animal. A pet.

What’s worse… no one ever came to pick up the goat. I watched her deteriorate and become fodder for the wildlife. It was so sad.

In less than a month, I went from having goats invading my patio to mourning their loss. Such is the cycle of nature.

 

RIP Vixen and Much Love to Petal

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