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My Goat Trixie, a Great Pet
I was about 15 when I pestered the life out of my family to let me get a pet goat. We lived in a farmhouse and had two unused stables plus a paddock, so there seemed little reason not to get one. After many weeks of saying no, they finally relented. The breed I chose was the British Saanen (one of the largest of all goats).
We finally found a local breeder who had a young goat to sell. She had a proper pedigree, and was called "Chantellaine Trixie." I fell for her on sight.
When she arrived, I had prepared her a lovely deep straw bed, a bucket of water, and some goat mix. Okay, so on her first night she ate all of her bed, but that is life with a goat, and I soon solved the problem by providing her with as much hay as she could eat.
I quickly realised life with Trixie was never going to be dull. She was still a maiden (virgin), and yet in spite of this was producing a small amount of milk. The problem was that she hated being milked. I was the only one in the house who knew how to milk a goat, which in her case usually required at least one other person to hold her legs in the air until the job was done. If no one else was available, I would have to wrestle with her on my own, and more often than not her hoof would end up in the milk bucket and ruin the milk. Truly a battle of wills was taking place, and she was winning.
To try to increase her milk yield, we sent her back to the original breeder to mate her with his billy goat. She took one look at this hairy monster, said no thank you, and refused to let him anywhere near her. This was the end of our dream of having goats milk at home. She quickly became a pet instead, still only producing half a cupful of milk or so a day.
What you need to know is that British Saanen goats are very big and very strong. Trixie rapidly learned she was far stronger than me with my skinny little frame. She used to drag me off into hedges and bushes whenever I tried to walk her out to her paddock. Her preferred foods were usually our shrubs and roses, so it was a difficult task to prise her away from these once she had hauled me over to them. In the end, my mum came up with a great idea: How about using a pair of my old infant school knickers as a blindfold? You know, the navy blue ones with the elasticated legs, God only knows why my mum had still kept them! They were perfect, as her ears poked through each leg hole and she couldn't see where she was going. We could then guide her slightly staggering body out to the paddock and attach her to her tether, remove the knickers, and leave her for the day without a hitch.
We thought this was the end of our problems, but it wasn't. I had read that goats should be taken for walks so they could graze the hedgerows. So I began taking her for walks on her collar and lead, at which point I found out she really hated dogs (except ours). Once, she spotted a lovely black and white border collie wandering through the country lanes. Immediately she took off after it, scaring the poor dog half to death. I had no chance of stopping her and got trawled along behind her like some kind of out-of-control water skier. Eventually I lost my grip on her lead and as the terrified dog finally reached its home and thought it was safe in its own garden, Trixie tore in after it. The owner of the dog was on his roof fixing a tile, and to be quite honest he nearly fell off the roof laughing. It must have looked very funny: His dog comes streaking around the corner at full pelt, closely followed by a large white goat, closely followed by an out-of-breath and very embarrassed me. Luckily he did see the funny side as I blushingly apologised and hauled Trixie home again.
The collar wasn't working, so we got her a halter instead. This would surely solve the problem, we thought. Nope, Trixie quickly worked out exactly what angle she needed to hold her head at so that she had maximum strength, and so her walks had to cease, but not before she had charged into the surprised neighbour's garden a few times in the middle of family barbeques and eaten half of his rose bush and traumatised his dog, all before I caught up with her.
Trixie truly had the sweetest personality though, and I would often go and sit in the paddock with her to read a book. She would sit so close she could lean against my back. She knew I fed her, cleaned her, milked her, clipped her hooves, and generally did everything for her, and so she trusted me, even if she was a very naughty goat. I soon understood what every type of bleat meant, be it the gentle one that she gave me when I opened the back door at night (her way of saying 'I'm here') or the slightly hysterical bleats she would give when it was time for her to be brought in for her evening feed (and she wanted it 'right now')!
About a year later, I got my horse Dixie, and the look on Trixie's face was priceless when this huge horse came into the stable. If a goat's mouth could fall open, hers would have. They soon became fast friends, although we did move Trixie into the neighbouring pig sty to prevent Dixie from squashing her by accident.
Sadly, a couple of years later, I sold my horse and left Guernsey. Mum kept Trixie as a pet, and even got her a companion of the same breed called Dolly. At some point Mum thought she had found a perfect home for both of these goats, and the lady was truly lovely. However, the tragedy was that Dolly contracted a horrible disease after this lady adopted them, and subsequently had to be put down after a long painful illness. Not wanting to see Trixie go through the same suffering, and as she was already starting to show symptoms of the same illness, the lady opted to have her put down, too. It was a very sad time for Mum and I when we found out, as we will never forget Trixie's amazing character and the humorous memories she left us with.