Pygmy Goats as Pets

You cannot, not love, a pygmy goat. These highly intelligent beings appeal to all the biological imperatives that make babies and Webster beloved by all–despite generally appalling behavior, excessive drinking and propensity to dirty diapers–well, Webster could be trained to change his own diapers, I guess, if it weren’t for the excessive drinking. Pygmy goats have the out-sized head and feet, stumpy bodies and incalculable cuteness that flips our inner switches into “protect the baby” mode.

Its reward enough to simply sit, for hours, with a pygmy goat in your lap and stare into their eyes while they regurgitate the ingesta from their rumen and ruminate on it. Sheep and goats produce 10-15 liters of saliva per day to assist in the digestive process; along with 5-10 liters of belched gas an hour. You laugh, but compare this to a cow–these excessively large animals produce over 100 liters of saliva per day. The lovability spit limit is about 50 liters of saliva per day. Less than this and an animal is cuddly, more than fifty and an animal simply becomes too special to be hugged for extended periods. This saliva limit essentially divides the animal kingdom into pets and table gravy.

Still, these statistical invariants do define the limit of the pygmy’s inherent pet-ness. They consume prodigious quantities of cellulose to drive this belching, spitting engine at maximum efficiency and, somehow, the results of this digestion must come flying out somewhere. Imagine. Just don’t imagine the pygmy goat taking up residence next to you on the couch.

Fortunately their pellets are quite small and quite hard; little round objects that are easily swept off the back deck; not so easily plucked from the shag carpet. They cannot be housetrained because they are proud animals and proud of their output. Dogs will kick grass over their effluent and run away, goats will sleep on it. In fact, male goats urinate on themselves during the mating season as the smell drives the ladies crazy–in a good way.

Also, keep in mind that pygmy goats are prey animals; dogs and cats are predators. This distinction drives much of the goat’s behavior. Goats are Zen-like in their calm alertness, but stoic and controlled in their responses. Their tails wag when they’re happy, like dogs, but once they’ve signaled happiness they return to that state of quiet observation that defines much of their being. They don’t keep wagging the stupid tail for hours on end, constantly demanding that the whole world know they’re the happiest thing ever in the history of happiness and if you’re not quite as happy as they are because you don’t have a real job and your car needs new tires that you can’t really afford, well, they just don’t care.

Because goats are prey animals they always try to hide their feelings. Even when you love them so much it hurts and you just want to make a connection, any connection, but they just stare back at you. This prey psychology means that they will not tell you they’re sick until its almost too late. A goat that acts sick is on death’s door. If you’re not really experienced, get them to the vet immediately because you only have a few hours before this beloved pet, who just won’t share their emotions or acknowledge the depth of your feelings, is going to die any minute. Why are you waiting, get the car keys, grab the goat, run for the door, but know; it’s already too late. You tried, but you’ll always have that nagging doubt, did you try hard enough–just like your last marriage. Maybe it was her fault.

Anyway, enjoy your pet. Pygmy goats, like babies, are wonderful.

Copyright 2007, Lotus Pond Media