A Blind Cat & a Goat

I met Tinkerbell, the old pygmy goat, at a stable I boarded at in Guelph, Ontario. Tinkerbell was a friendly goat, always coming to the door to see who pulled in the driveway, greeting them with a quick turn of the neck and a good goat stare. At her side, an old blind cat named, Willie.

They were best friends and lived freely on the farm, often seen snuggling up in the loose hay together. Tinkerbell wore a green dog collar with a round bell attached to it. It would chime when she got up from a nap or moved around quickly. Since Willie was blind, the bell let him know when Tinkerbell was on the move.

Tinkerbell was a very picky eater. The grass surrounding the farm didn’t tantalize her taste buds, but she loved the leaves of the shrubs sprouting along the fence line, only if she bit them from their stems. If I picked the leaf for her, even if she watched me pick it, she would turn her nose up at it.

Willie would follow along on the fine cuisine adventures, and Tinkerbell enjoyed the company.

I was at the farm alone one summer afternoon when the phone rang in the barn and I answered. It was the manager of the golf course across the street. He said, “Your goat is over here again.”

I giggled, silently “Oh, sorry about that. She gets away on us sometimes” (although she was free to roam the farm.)

He continued, “Everyone loves her, but she’s eating the green on the 8th hole. You need to come and get her.”

This wasn’t the first time they had called. I had heard of other boarders answering this call, but this was a first for me. I checked the hay stall to see Willie snoozing, so I grabbed a lead rope, hopped in the farm truck and made my way over to the next concession to find the golf course driveway.

Tinkerbell was constantly going over to the golf course to get the best grass. The manager wasn’t too happy about it. Sure, the golfers thought she was cute as she rifled through their bags looking for candy, and they enjoyed the surprise entertainment, but we were getting called to come get her a few times a week. He was tiring of her determination to get the best grass.

The manager was waiting for me out front and we hopped in a golf cart to drive out to the 8th hole. We met up with three golfers who were talking to Tinkerbell, and she put on a show. Pretending she knew what they were saying while riffling around their packs for treats.

I answered the typical ‘goat on the golf course’ questions, listened to the jokes and smiled. They all laughed when Tinkerbell hopped into the golf cart with us to make the trip back to my truck. She stood at my feet and poked her head out the side to smell the fresh green grass, heavenly, as we whipped along the paved trail.

The manager laughed, I mean, it was pretty funny, but he also asked me some serious questions, like, can we patch up our fence so she doesn’t get out? And how do we stop her from coming over? To which I had no reply. She just walks down the driveway and crosses the dirt road. But I wasn’t about to tell him she had free roam!

In typical goat fashion, she pooped all over the floor of the golf cart and I pretended I hadn’t noticed. I quickly said my goodbyes and lead her to the truck for the 2 minute drive home in the beautiful late summer sun.

Wasn’t much we could do to keep her away from the delicious grass across the street, and with me moving north soon, the owner of the farm asked me if I’d like to take her. It would solve the golf course problem, and I liked her! There was only one caveat, her best friend, Willie the Cat, would need to come along too. So, I became the new owner of an old pygmy goat and blind cat.

I loaded the two seniors into a large dog crate to make the drive north. They took in the sights of the escarpment and arrived at their new home without a hitch. Willie was happy to find a horse blanket on the tack room floor and settled right in. He carefully meandered around, relying on Tinkerbell’s collar to navigate the new surroundings.

Willie was older than the hills, and life on the farm was getting tough for him. We eventually let him live in the house where he would sleep on a chair until he felt the furnace come on, then he would trot over to the vent and sleep on-top of it. This went on the whole winter until he passed away.

When he passed, I thought Tinkerbell might need a friend, as goats should live in pairs, so my neighbour gave me a milking goat named Abby for the summer to see how it would go. She was a LaMancha breed and stood much taller than sweet, little Tinkerbell. Having a free roaming pygmy goat on the farm is easy. Add a regular goat to the mix? Mayhem.

One morning, I looked out the kitchen window to see Abby standing on the seat of the tractor with her front hooves on the dash. Another time, I walked in the living room to see her pressed up against the window, standing on the sill. She would stand on the ATV, the tractor, the hay wagon, the stairs. Basically, anything off the ground. Tinkerbell would be her trusty companion, following her wherever she roamed. Abby enthralled Tinkerbell with her bold attention-seeking behaviour.

The buck stopped when Abby got up on the hood of my brand new car. I tiptoed out of the house to coax her off. I didn’t want to startle her and damage the hood. She was oblivious to any form of human emotion. This made living with a goat of her nature frustrating!

I couldn’t contain them in a pen because Tinkerbell loved roaming the farm and visiting the horses in the paddocks, so I gave Abby back to the neighbour and let Tinkerbell live out her days roaming around with a new barn cat named Wally. She won over the heart of one of my horses, Ollie, who happily accepted her as a stall buddy and shared his hay.

After the wild goat left, Tinkerbell made herself useful by entertaining kids waiting for a ride after an afternoon at the barn. Everyone loved Tinkerbell, and she enjoyed the attention.

She spent the rest of her days on napping adventures. Moving back and forth from the shade to the sun until she got too warm, then back to the shade for a cool-off nap. I’m sure she spent her days dreaming of the fresh green grass on the golf course, and enjoying the peace and quiet of farm life.

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