NEW MEXICO ADVENTURES
Five Things I’ve Learned from Summer the Goat
Since moving to Albuquerque, I’ve had the chance to explore my new neighborhood with my dog, Clooney, and I’ve learned a lot.
Clooney likes to take at least two walks a day that cover a minimum of three miles, and, as it happens, our twice daily “there and back” travels along the Alameda Drain bring us right to yard of Summer the goat.
Summer is a very personable goat who likes to have her photo taken and will gambol over when she sees me. She doesn’t even wait for me to get my phone out and instead immediately begins to pose for the camera, because — she reasons — who wouldn’t want a picture of a goat?
I have known Summer now for almost a year-and-a-half, and with each passing month, I learn a little more from her about life and the finer points of goat etiquette.
Lesson 1: Goats make great neighbors
They can be a little truculent, but otherwise, goats are excellent neighbors.
They will keep the weeds down, they don’t have loud parties, and they don’t have cars, so you will never have to ask them to move theirs because it’s blocking your driveway.
Lesson 2: Come bearing gifts
As with any friend, when you visit a goat, bring your host a gift.
Summer prefers leaves above all else, so as Clooney and I make our way toward her yard, I gather branches that still have leaves on them and prepare a bouquet for her to enjoy:
On occasion, I have brought her sliced apples.
She humored me the first couple of times, but eventually, she let me know in no uncertain terms, that apple slices, were, at best, an exceedingly distant second choice to a bouquet of leaves.
Lesson 3: Show up on time
Just like a job interview, you don’t want to be late. Neither a goat nor a prospective employer will give you bonus points for just showing up.
You only get bonus points if you show up on time, but since showing up on time is a minimum requirement, you actually don’t get any bonus points.
Lesson 4: Goats will tell you the truth
Goats don’t lie or have a hidden agenda.
If they don’t like something you’ve done or a gift you have brought, you will know.
Summer most often conveys her displeasure by sticking her tongue out and snorting at me until I comply or mend my ways.
Lesson 5: Enjoy every bite
Spring, summer, and fall are three of the four seasons, but, practically speaking, they have a limited run. There won’t be any leaves to eat come December, January, February, and March is kind of iffy.
You need to eat leaves while the sunshines and enjoy them. Every. Single. Bite.
What I learned
I’ve learned a lot of things over the past eighteen months since I first met Summer, and perhaps the most important is this: If you listen, animals will teach you things you didn’t know you needed to learn.