In the summer of 2016, a stray pygmy goat was found wandering around in Harnett County, North Carolina.
The ones who found the goat took him to a local shelter, hoping that they may know what to do with him.
Keep reading to find out where this sweet goat ended up!
Finding a New Home
Another local shelter that was more equipped to handle this goat then took over and began looking for a new home for him.
That’s when they reached out to Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge in Pittsboro, NC.
“That’s when he made his way to his permanent home with us, where we have other goats,” Lenore Braford, the founder and Animal Care Director at the Refuge, said.
Once at the Refuge, the goat was given a name, Jonathan, and began the journey of warming up to his new home.
At the same time, Lenore and the staff at the Refuge began looking into how they could best meet Jonathan’s needs.
Learning the Story
Because of his age, nearly 8 years old, the tags on his ears, and the type of goat he is, Lenore could tell Jonathan had most likely been used by a breeder for a number of years.
“Pygmy goats are typically used as pets, as opposed to being bred for meat or milk,” Lenore said.
Even though Jonathan wasn’t raised in the same situation as factory farmed goats, He still probably had it pretty rough.
Whether it was a result of treatment by his previous caretaker, or the time he spent as a stray, Jonathan did not show up to the Refuge in very good shape.
“He had ringworm, and we also noticed that he would cough and kind of foam at the mouth when he was coughing,” Lenore shared.
They were able to clear up the ringworm in short order after his initial vet visit, but the cough was a growing concern.
Road to Recovery
After additional testing, they discovered that Jonathan had Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL), a disease that goats and sheep can have.
While there is no cure for CL, Lenore, with the help of their vet, has managed to find a way to monitor and treat Jonathan’s symptoms.
“If he runs or gets too excited, he can sometimes cough and you’ll see a little foaminess,” Lenore mentioned. “So, we just keep an eye on that and make sure he’s going to be okay.”
Jonathan had to be quarantined while they figured out what was going in with his lungs and waited for his ringworm to clear up.
However, that doesn’t mean he was completely alone!
“Caregivers would go in and of course give him lots of love and pets and treat him for ringworm and other issues,” Lenore shared. “So, he was not able to be with other goats at first.”
Jonathan was recovering at a positive rate, surrounded by the Refuge caring staff, and everyone was looking forward to the day he could be introduced to the rest of the herd!
Making New Friends
The staff at the Refuge made sure to set Jonathan and his future buddies up for success when it came to introducing them.
“Normally, we expect a good deal of head butting between goats because they live in hierarchies,” Lenore said. “The heards have a leader and everyone knows their place. So, there can be some drama when a new member enters.”
This, of course, does not mean that goats are overly aggressive with each other nor does it mean that this type of head butting is unnatural.
It just means that Lenore wanted to give all of them room to be goats and do what goats do.
They were prepared for most situations, but were not at all expecting what happened!
“There was a little bit of head butting, but Jonathan remained very cool and collected,” Lenore said. “And the other goats seemed to be fascinated by him.”
Lenore wasn’t sure if it was because of his calmness or his impressive beard, but it seemed pretty certain that all of the other goats were very happy to welcome Jonathan into their herd!
In an interesting turn of events, the goat’s fascination with Jonathan ended with them choosing him as the new leader of the herd!
“They followed him around sniffing him and observing him,” Lenore said. “And that was the start of his reign as the leader of the herd, which he maintains to this day.”
In many cases, leaders of goat herds are the bossiest, but in Jonathan’s case, his herd chose the most confident as their leader!
“He’s a pretty cool, calm, and collected kind of leader,” Lenore said.
This doesn’t mean, though, that Jonathan never takes advantage of his leadership position. According to Lenore, he often uses his standing to be the first to the food bowl.
“He is on a somewhat restricted diet now,” Lenore said. “So, not too many treats from volunteers because he’s a bit on the tubby side. He generally loves food, hay, any treats, but in particular peanut butter and cracker sandwiches are his favorite.”
Lenore and the other staff members do a great job of treating Jonathan while also making sure he stays healthy.
Remembering the Past
Jonathan has found a great life for himself at the Refuge, but he still will have to deal with issues caused by the mistakes of his previous caretakers.
In addition to monitoring his cough, staff at the Refuge also periodically trim his one remaining horn that grew back after a failed attempt to remove them when he was most likely very young.
If they don’t do this, his horn could grow into the side of his head and cause him a lot of pain.
Goats horns serve many purposes, from helping in play to regulating body temperature.
However, due to the common misconception that goats are aggressive, many breeders will remove goat’s horns, hoping people will be more likely to buy them.
The dehorning procedure is very painful for the goats and often leads to horns growing back in an unnatural way, like Jonathan’s horn.
Luckily, Jonathan now has responsible and educated caretakers who can make sure that his horn is trimmed in a humane way so that it never ends up growing into his body.
Looking to the Future
None of this, however, stops Jonathan from living a happy and fulfilled life!
He loves eating and relaxing outside with the rest of the heard, and is a joy to have around the refuge.
The staff at the Refuge love Jonathan so much that they even have made a few special accomodations for him. One of these involves his favorite stump.
“There is this particular stump that he absolutely loves to scratch his belly on,” Lenore shared. “We always make sure volunteers don’t remove that stump because it’s Jonathan’s scratching stump.”
Jonathan, like all animals, has things he likes and things he doesn’t like.
We’re so happy that Jonathan made his way to Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge where he will always be surrounded by humans who care about his likes and dislikes.
If you’d like to contribute to Jonathan’s happy life at the Refuge, click here to sponsor him!