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A little help from our friends ...

The dog and I were out for a backroads ramble during a family visit in Georgia when we ran across the goat. 

I heard him before I saw him, though his cry was pitifully small for a big billy. I suppose he was tired: at some point he had stuck his head through the hog wire fence of his pasture, and couldn't get it back.

This is an occupational hazard for goats hemmed in by hog wire: the 4-5 inch rectangles are large enough for a curious goat to push its head through, but too small to allow those splayed-out horns back inside.

I learned this as a boy when my father fenced in a mostly wooded lot behind our house and populated it with goats. Our billy goat (who was ingeniously named "Billy") thought the grass in a neighboring pasture was much tastier than our fare. Many days, when I got off the school bus, I'd hear him bleating from the back of the pasture, and it was my job to go and rescue him. 

Working an ornery goat's head back through the hog wire often entailed skinned knuckles, and I was glad when we finally turned Billy into barbeque. 

So, when the dog and I saw the goat, I couldn't just let him stand there crying. We tramped through some poison oak to where the rambunctious billy stood pinned with his feet two or three rungs from the ground. I tied the dog to a signpost, then gingerly worked the goat's horns back through the fence. 

Once free, he shook his head for a moment to get his bearings, then gamboled off to join the nannies, free at last.

All of us, at times, find ourselves in tight spots that could be physical, but are more often financial, emotional, relational, or spiritual. 

Those times remind us how much we need other people in our lives: a helping hand, a compassionate ear, or an encouraging word can often be the difference between staying stuck and moving forward. 

We get by with a little help from our friends. 


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    A little help from our friends ... - Tony W. Cartledge Blog - Baptists Today, The Source for Daily Baptist News for You and Your Church

Reader Comments (3)

Tony, I was struck by the idea that things we learn throughout life, whether of not we like the experience, may be the thing that is the greatest help later in life. Caring for goats as a boy may not have been your favorite after school activity. BUT did that responsibility lead you to develop compassion for the goat as well as some needed skills for solving the current problem?? Think??
Deane Langdon

Apr 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeane Langdon

I continue to learn life lessons from goats. I wrote about a similar incident on my father-in-law's farm, also in Georgia, back in January.

Maybe it's just Georgia goats that get stuck.

Good to see you in Raleigh!


Apr 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLance Wallace

My wife and I have been raising goats for some 15 years now and have had to get many of them out of the fence. I'm convinced that goats are a lot like people. A goat can be in a rich, lush pasture with plenty to eat but will spy a plant five feet outside the fence and will get stuck trying to get something it can't physically reach. At that point, it's missing the rich grass as well as the sought after treasure outside the fence.

As Americans and more importantly as Christians, we too often are dissatisfied with the blessings all around us and seek after things that are unattainable, unhealthy, non-productive or wasteful and then we get stuck. Thankfully, we have a great shepherd that can come to our aid.

Thanks for sharing the photo and the story!

Apr 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGerald

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