Thursday, 4 October 2012

Guard Goat

This could have been titled 'Man's Best Friend' or 'Nimble as a Goat'.
A few months ago a friend of Akio Okano left a baby yagi or goat with Akio to take care of. For a while the goat was kept penned up at night and staked up in a grazing area during the day. Every time the goat saw a human being especially one it recognized it would 'bleat' vigorously asking for company. One day Okano-san released the goat arguing that the goat simply wanted its freedom. It did not take long for the goat to establish its territory. It will not cross the road on three sides or climb up the hill to the road on the fourth side. But I am not sure whether the gardener on one side is aware that "yagi" enjoys sweet potato leaves for dessert and who knows what else?
The pigs and their barn are in the centre of this territory. Across the length of the back of the barn is an elevated walk way used by Okano-san to access the various pens and to move pigs in and out of trucks. This has become the goat's home from which it can supervise the pigs. When Okano-san shows up early morning and at the end of the day the goat follows him around like a puppy making sure that all the chores are completed satisfactorily.
Then a few days ago we saw the goat enter one of the pig pens by a hole in the plywood front. It maneuvered its way through the pen, stepping on the backs of recumbent pigs if they impeded him. Then at the back of the pen it waited briefly for a pig to position itself just right in a standing position and jumped onto the pig's back and over the barrier into the walkway at the rear of the pens. Its hooves clipped the top bar, but it kept its balance and landed upright.
This was the day Akio-san and I were tying down the barn to prevent damage by typhoon 17. I was wondering how long it would take the goat to get itself in trouble with the frayed rope that was hanging from its collar. Sure enough soon there were sounds of distress coming from the pig pen with the hole in the wall. Yagi had managed to tangle the rope around its hind legs in such a way it could not move and could have been knocked down and trampled by one of the pigs. Akio-san jumped in picked up the goat and dumped it outside of the pen. He was not too pleased with the stench this left on his hands. He got out and laboriously cut the rope from the goat's ankles, as I held the goat by the collar. The poor "yagi" was terrified and panted rapidly. After the goat went off to be alone for awhile, but was soon ready to assume its duties again.


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