Sunday, October 11, 2009

Petting Zoo

The still-unnamed baby goats were born two weeks ago today, and since then hardly a day has gone by without someone coming over to meet them, and the puppy Bisou.

Women have come, and children, and grown men too. The ritual is as follows: I usher them into the garage, through the tiny door (watch your head!) into the milking room, and into the goat sanctuary. I bend down and pick up the babies and hand one to each visitor.

The goat kids are used to this, and only thrash and bleat if the visitor neglects to support their hind quarters. Otherwise they sit quietly in the (to them) stranger's arms, grunting softly and smelling of hay. The humans' reaction is more intense, and pretty much identical across genders and ages: people coo and moan and speak in high-pitched voices, and bury their noses in the soft fur. They stand there and hold those babies against their chest and get a far-away look in their eyes. You can tell that something deep in their DNA is being addressed by those little goats.

When they recover I lead them out and bring Bisou to meet them, and the same scenario, with minor variations, ensues. The variations are due to Bisou's being way more wiggly than the goats, and her lack of hesitation to lick people's faces and bite their fingers with her needle teeth. So she gets put down more quickly. But the talk and the voice tones with which she is addressed are essentially the same.

After the animal babies are put away, my friends thank me for letting them come. “We're so glad you're doing this,” they say, “so we can enjoy it. It must be a lot of work!”

And it is.

3 comments :

  1. I love love love other people's animals. (Note high pitch in voice.) Especially those animals!

    ReplyDelete
  2. We have friends who have alpacas. The routine seems similar with them when they show off their animals -- only they've never plopped an alpaca baby in my arms (and I'm glad -- I've seen them kick!)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aren't alpacas amazing? Those eyes, that attitude...

    ReplyDelete