The Goat, the Mystery, the New Friend
Levi joined The Hey Friend Foundation family after quite mysteriously escaping a slaughterhouse. It’s no mystery that he’d want to escape, but to this day we still wonder how the heck he did it. Levi is a fainting goat, a.k.a. Myotonic. Myotonics faint when stressed. How did our boy keep from fainting long enough to make his bid for freedom? We don’t know, but all we can say is, “Go Levi. Go!!!!!”
Myotonic goats are still intentionally bred with this trait today. The history of these goats is that shepherds would keep them with their flock of sheep, so that if a predator descended, the goat would take the hit and the sheep would get away. Videos of fainting goats litter the internet. I’m hoping that the folks that find them funny don’t understand why the goat is fainting. During the fainting episode the goat stays conscious but is completely paralyzed – the stuff of nightmares.
When Levi first arrived at our farm, he hid behind his friends for days. While Romy, Avery, and the rest of the gang enjoyed belly-rubs and back-scratches, Levi would observe from a distance, an outsider to the love-party. Knowing Levi’s affliction, we gave him his space despite wanting to grab and kiss him and tell him everything was going to be okay.
A week after Levi’s arrival, my daughter had an idea. For years she had been visiting local animal shelters and reading books to the dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs. Animal shelters encourage their young supporters to stop in and read to the shelter animals as they’ve found that their soft, gentle, and soothing voices help the timid and shy shelter animals come out of their shells. They help the animals to find comfort and safety in human interaction and learn to socialize through a calm and peaceful exercise. My daughter wondered whether this same idea might help bring Levi the goat out of his shell too.
The next day she decided that she would do her homework in Levi’s stall. With a book in hand, she found a spot in the hay and began to read aloud. Careful at first not to look at Levi or cause him to become frightened, she soon noticed a small furry body sidling up next to hers. It was Levi. While she continued to read, he let her rub his chest, closing his eyes and tilting his head towards hers. He was calm, happy and finally at home.