Dances with goats

You would think that going for a walk along a secluded country road would be the very definition of serene.

“There she is! On your mark

You would think that going for a walk along a secluded country road would be the very definition of serene.

How could it be anything but? There you are surrounded by forest and fields, nary a building in sight. No horns honking, sirens wailing or having to pause for walk signals.

I am a run walker, meaning I like to run the first few hundred metres to get all those cardio things happening and then I like to walk the rest of the way so I can appreciate nature without wheezing along like a cat trapped inside an accordion during a polka.

Unfortunately it’s hard to sneak out of our yard on the run, even if I wasn’t wheezing.

When it comes to animals anything that’s running is a real attention grabber. Movement catches the eye and all that. Everyone knows not to run from a bear or a tiger since their natural instinct is to chase and chew on anything that appears to be in a hurry. What you might not have guessed is that the same rule applies to goats.

I learned this lesson the hard way a couple summers ago. Normally our goats were content to stay inside their pasture but if properly motivated they could sail over the confines of their fence with the greatest of ease. Our driveway goes along one length of the summer goat and sheep pasture. One fine spring afternoon shortly after moving the animals into their summer digs, I set out for my run and walk.

As I huffed along my interesting gamboling movements caused the goats to yank their heads up out of the grass and come capering over to the fence.

They then proceeded to run along beside me. This would have been rather alarming had they been a trio of grizzly bears, as it were, I was quite entertained by the spectacle. Forget dancing with wolves, I was running with goats! When I hit the end of the driveway I hung a left, waved a good bye to the goats over my shoulder and jogged up onto the main road, expecting this would be where the goats and I would part company. Sadly, this was not the case.

Unfortunately I didn’t realize the fence had failed to deter the trio until I had run a good few hundred metres and happened to glance back over my shoulder. To my horror there was Pancake, Alaska and Zippy all galloping happily along right behind me.

And that’s when I heard a vehicle approaching from around the bend. Of course I did. My heart dropped to the bottom of my ratty running shoes. Even if you’re sporting the latest jogging gear, sunglasses and a sweat band on your wrist — which I wasn’t — there’s no way to look cool when your jogging companions are goats.

It’s not unusual to come upon local folk out walking in the country. Sometimes they have their kids along on bicycles, or toddlers in a stroller. Sometimes they are even accompanied by a dog. But goats? Alas, I’m afraid that distinction has been reserved solely for me to the immense entertainment of my neighbours.

If I was a quick thinker, perhaps I could have grabbed a stick and pretended to be industriously herding the goats along to take advantage of the new grass that always grows taller along the roadside. But if I was a quick thinker I wouldn’t have a goat, let alone three of them.

As the vehicle came around the bend the best I could hope for was a city slicker who would mistake the goats for baby deer and be amazed. Maybe the driver would think I was some kind of deer whisperer.

But no such luck. As the pickup came into view I could see by the expression on the driver’s face that his Christmas had come early. Spread out on the road before him was an unexpected gift; a story that would earn him a second cup of coffee from all the neighbours for the rest of the summer and probably a plate of homemade cookies to go with it.

Rolling down his window the driver leaned on his elbow, poked his head out and casually said, “When you’re finished here I’ve got a couple cows you can take out for a stroll.”

It’s been two whole years and I still haven’t come up with a witty reply.

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can reach her at contact@shannonmckinnon.com

Just Posted

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Report: China is driving use of armed drones in Middle East

BEIRUT — The use of armed drones in the Middle East, driven… Continue reading

Canadian home sales fall for a 3rd month; new listings also down: CREA

OTTAWA — Home sales across the country fell for a third month… Continue reading

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A rally in support of Alberta’s oil industry… Continue reading

‘Are we going to play?’ Alberta boy with rare illness no big deal for classmates

ONOWAY, Alta. — Four-year-old Porter Stanley has some new pals at preschool.… Continue reading

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A rally in support of Alberta’s oil industry… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Jeff Bridges to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Globes

LOS ANGELES — Jeff Bridges may have once been considered as one… Continue reading

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

NEW YORK — Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Quebecers criticize western oil but buying more gasoline, SUVs, bigger homes: report

MONTREAL — Quebec’s premier is quick to reject “dirty” oil from Western… Continue reading

Speaker Geoff Regan opens the door to his apartment in Parliament

OTTAWA — One of the best-kept secrets inside the main building on… Continue reading

Most Read