Totes: Baby Goat Rescued by U.S. Coast Guardsman

Semper Paratus, “always prepared,” is the motto of the United States Coast Guard. Based on recent events, we think it would be fair to add “even for a lost baby goat.”


This June, Coast Guardsman Michael Toledo and his colleagues were working on a levee on the Sacramento River when they discovered a baby goat all alone in the middle of the road. The kid’s left eye was clouded over, and his umbilicus was still attached. Toledo and his boss made some calls to veterinarians seeking advice, but they were told to leave the goat where they had found him and let nature take its course. The two guardsmen weren’t willing to do that — and with nowhere else to take the little goat, Toledo brought him home. He named him Totes.

Once at his house south of San Francisco, Toledo continued his search for guidance on keeping Totes alive and finding him a permanent home. He called the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at University of California, Davis, where Farm Sanctuary regularly brings residents of our Northern California Shelter for treatment, and the staff put him in touch with us. We were happy to welcome Totes to our shelter.

Worried about Totes’ health, Toledo offered to bring the kid to us and immediately embarked on the three-hour drive. Although Totes cried now and then, the sound of Toledo’s voice soothed the young goat as they made their way north. Around 8 o’clock that night, Toledo arrived with Totes. As he carried the kid into our hospital trailer, we could see how fond this compassionate serviceman was of his tiny friend. With a long drive home ahead of him, Toledo couldn’t stay, but he left with our heartfelt thanks and promises to update him on Totes.

It was a good thing that Toledo rushed Totes to us. Our initial examination revealed that his front knees were swollen, which caused difficulties with balance. As Toledo had noticed, Totes’ left eye was clouded over, and he lacked the energy that baby goats normally have. Because he was found with his umbilicus still attached, Totes was at risk of navel ill, an infection that can spread to the limbs. It was important to get Totes to the vet for diagnostics. As we prepared a vehicle to take him to UC Davis, Totes enjoyed a bottle-feeding and fell asleep in the comfort of a caregiver’s arms as soon as he’d finished his meal. Within an hour of arriving at the shelter, the little fellow was once again on the road.

Our vet at UC Davis found that Totes was suffering from contracted tendons in his front legs, and tests revealed that the baby goat did indeed have an infection in his legs, possibly stemming from another infection detected in his umbilicus. Currently, Totes is still at the hospital, receiving treatments and physical therapy. He’s on two different IV antibiotics as well as IV fluid therapy.

Despite how sick he is, Totes has a great appetite, and he’s gaining weight — not to mention stealing hearts. By now, everyone who works in the treatment barn where Totes is convalescing has fallen for this winsome youngster.

Once he’s well, Totes will return to the shelter, where another young goat named Hemingway is eagerly waiting to meet him. Also awaiting to see him is Toledo, who plans to visit him in a couple weeks. We’re so excited for this rescuer to see Totes enjoying the wonderful life of peace, friendship, and fun that his act of kindness made possible.