The Man With the Goat

I’m allergic to goats.  This is a new allergy, discovered only last year during a trip to the Del Mar Fair.  Upon entering the goat barn, I suddenly found that I couldn’t breathe very well. My eyes watered, my nose ran, I began to cough uncontrollably and felt like I was underwater.  Leaving the goat barn, I could breathe again.  The cough subsided.  Revelation: goat allergy.

Lanai horse

So when I found myself coughing on Lanai for no reason at all, I immediately suspected goats. My husband laughed at me, and said I was probably allergic to the Lodge’s horses, which I had been hanging out with all morning.  No, this wasn’t possible.  I’ve been around horses before, and they’ve never given me so much as a sniffle.  Besides, they were so friendly that they couldn’t possibly cause an allergy attack, could they?

I was incredibly relieved, then, when I saw the man with the goat.  I spotted them at the old Cavendish golf course, which is at the bottom of the road that leads up to the Lodge. The goat was busy eating the dry grass, pausing to look up now and then, while the man patiently held onto the leash and watched.  The goat was surprisingly well behaved – he didn’t pull on the leash or struggle or baaah or do anything even remotely goatish except eat the old greens of the former Cavendish course.  He wore a big bell, like a small cowbell, on the collar around his neck; the bell made a pleasant jangle-sound when he walked.  The man was unadorned and looked like an engineer or doctor, wearing long khaki pants and a button-down shirt. Later, I discovered that he is the school psychologist, the goat likely the family pet.  Seeing him with his goat made me think of our house rabbit, and how we take the bunny outside daily for his morning run around the backyard.  Goats and rabbits aren’t the usual kind of pet for a household, but for some people, they make sense. Our rabbit doesn’t understand a thing we say, but will do almost anything for a slice of banana or for a raisin treat.  I’m sure goats don’t have many words either, but they must give something back, they must have some kind of connection to their humans, otherwise, why else would this man patiently take his goat out for a long evening walk to an empty field to feast on weeds and dry grass?  Why would he fit this goat with a collar and a bell, train it to walk on a lead, and give this goat an incredible life on one of the most beautiful islands on the planet?  Lucky goat.

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