Our friend Nate is one powerful fellow — and our staff has the bruises to prove it.
Nate was one of four goats recently dumped in a small town near our New York Shelter. Two of the goats were reportedly seen “harassing” cattle. The other two found their way to the property of a local man, who called to tell us that, if they remained, he would catch them and sell them at auction. This would have been a death sentence for the goats, consigning them either to a meat-raising operation or directly to the slaughterhouse. We sent out a team to save them from that fate.
When we arrived, one of the goats was missing. We were never able to find him or to locate the other two. We fear they were captured and brought to auction, if not simply killed by the cattle farmer. One goat, however, eluded such an end. We soon discovered how. The young male — powerful, armed with a set of horns, and none too keen on being captured — led rescue workers on a long, rough-and-tumble chase, sometimes charging straight at his well-meaning pursuers. Even after they tired and were much the worse for wear, the rescue team persisted.
Finally, the team succeeded in herding Nate into the trailer and conveying him to our New York Shelter. After a night in temporary quarters, it was off to our vets at Cornell to be examined and neutered. Once again, Nate gave handlers a run for their money, bowling over three of our sturdiest staff members before they managed to secure him in the trailer.
Nate’s a tough guy, but he’s not mean. He’s scared. Like many farm animals whose behavior is perceived as ornery or aggressive, he is merely heeding his own survival instincts.
Nate clearly has never known kindness from humans, who until now have only posed a threat to him. Over the next several weeks, we will work to help him feel comfortable around his caregivers, to learn to trust, to believe he is safe. With time, he will be able to enjoy playing with new herd mates, climbing hills, and roving through pastures. The power and agility he once used to evade death will now be devoted to reveling in life.