Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Adventures of a goat wrangler or my life in crime: Part 1

(Photo credit: chromatophobe on flickr)

I feel a need to share some of the situations in which I've found myself during the course of my life. Maybe I need to clear my conscience. Mainly I hope to make you laugh. In any case here we begin one of those stories.

Hubs and I had been involved with a community organization that helps animals (I'm leaving all names out to protect the innocent) for about 4 months when the group received word that, through an unfortunate turn of events, a herd of goats in a neighboring town found themselves with no caretakers. They had broken through their fence and periodically wandered around the neighborhood wreaking havoc, and I guess eating things that didn't belong to them. Our group was led to believe that the town would appreciate our help with the goats. We decided to see what we could do, and hubs actually located a family, we'll call them Dave and Leeane, with pasture land who would be glad to have a free herd of goats. We told the family where to find the goats; they borrowed a trailer and met one of our group members at the site one morning a day or so later (a Wednesday I believe and the day before Valentine's 2008) and between them got 14 of the 30 or so goats loaded up with the idea to drop them off and return for the rest of the herd. That's great! We were so excited to have helped so quickly!

Evidently when Dave returned later in the morning for the rest of the goats some person stopped to talk to him; the details of this are fuzzy, but whatever happened it kicked off a day full of more entertainment than strictly necessary. Just after lunch I received a call at work that there were policemen waiting for Dave and he was told if the 14 STOLEN (!!!) goats were not returned by 5 pm that day he would be LOCKED UP! I should stop here and say that I was highly suspicious of the lock-up story, but had no way to get to the bottom of things before the 5 pm deadline (I was at work for goodness' sake). Later I heard from a different source that some member of the police department lived down the road, noticed the trailer go by, and dropped by to inform Dave that these particular goats were wrapped up in a probate court case and could not legally be removed from the premises. Supposedly this guy was off duty and just informing Dave of the facts of the situation...which wasn't quite the SWAT team scenario I was first given, but who knows what really happened. In any case it turned out that our group had been misled as these goats had not actually been eligible for assistance. Antics ensue.

I felt strongly that hubs and I needed to help Dave and family get those first 14 goats returned since we were the reason they knew about the goats in the first place. Just shove the lot in the trailer one more time and dump them back in their field, right? Wrong. I guess Dave in his panicked state imprudently shared the story with the owner of the trailer who, fearing some sort of trouble for himself through indirect involvement, decided his trailer had best stay safe at home with him. Now needed: one trailer.

I have lived in small town South Carolina my whole life, so you might assume I know something about livestock. The sum total of my involvement with farm animals consists of driving past pastures containing horses and cows and goats (and maybe rolling down the window to moo at a cow every now and then. Don't lie, you've done it). I hope to own some goats and chickens one day, but at the moment the approximately 160 pounds of dogs running around my yard is as close as I get to the barn yard. I don't have a trailer, and I don't know anybody who has a trailer. I called any and everyone I could think of. I called our local farm supply store to ask if they knew of trailer rental places and was told "No..." in a tone that suggested the employee felt there was something wrong with my brain function. What was I thinking asking the farm store if they knew where to find some farm equipment?!?!

I was at the end of my ideas, so I called hubs (who had taken the day off work) and said, "I can't find a trailer anywhere; what are we going to do..." And my man came up with it: U-Haul. So simple, so unexpected, yet...it just might work! When he said that magic word all worry went out of my head. Hubs can do anything, so I knew once he settled on a plan our lock-up fears were over.

Crisis management team Hubs and Co. sprang into action. I called various members of our group to see if anyone could help us return the "stolen" property. I called Dave and Leeane to coordinate when we would arrive (hubs and I had to plan around the play practice we had immediately after work. We were Auntie Em and Uncle Henry in our community theater's production of The Wizard of Oz...we may not be farmers, but we play some on stage...God has a sense of humor, people). Hubs secured the truck. Yes, truck. 14 ft moving truck to be specific. I wondered if we could fit 14 goats in the truck...I felt royally stupid later when I saw the goats and realized that even though these were BIG goats we could have fit about 50 of them in there.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Donnamo said...

Oh, you are so a girl after my own heart.....you name it; we will jump on it AND involve our husbands if at all possible!