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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

One new COVID-19 case confirmed for Red Deer

Red Deer has one new confirmed case of COVID-19, which brings the… Continue reading

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools reveals three-phase layoff plan

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools has announced a three-phase layoff process after… Continue reading

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

RDSO’s April concert is pushed back into the fall

No decisions yet on what will happen to the June 5 finale

Hospital parking fees suspended during COVID-19 pandemic

Alberta Health Services has been directed to temporarily suspend parking fees during… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Alberta suspends environmental reporting requirements over COVID crisis

Alberta suspends environmental reporting requirements over COVID crisis

Internal audit of Scheer’s expenses turns up money on school, clothes, minivan

Internal audit of Scheer’s expenses turns up money on school, clothes, minivan

Alberta announces new COVID-19 rules for workers at long-term care centres

Alberta announces new COVID-19 rules for workers at long-term care centres

N.L. health minister urges safe use of dating apps during pandemic

N.L. health minister urges safe use of dating apps during pandemic

Staying home offers chance to declutter, but what to do when you can’t donate?

Staying home offers chance to declutter, but what to do when you can’t donate?

Trump says he expects Russia, Saudis to cut oil production

Trump says he expects Russia, Saudis to cut oil production

Most Read