By Ryn Gargulinski: Local columnist
My four goats were on fire. Or dying. Or on fire and dying.
There would be no other way to explain the mind-splitting bleats coming from the goat pen that sunny New Mexican afternoon.
Being the good goat mom, I immediately ran outside with a bucket of water and that mini fire extinguisher from the kitchen wall (just in case it were a grease fire).
But alas, the four goats were neither flaming nor dying — although one had blood all over her backside and legs.
She must have been hit by a truck, thought I, although it was a mystery as to how the truck got inside the goat pen when none of the posts were knocked down. Or how it got back out when none of the posts were knocked down.
She must have been attacked by a raven, then, although I’m unsure ravens are indigenous to the Land of Enchantment.
Upon closer examination, I found the reason behind the blood, the havoc, the massive bout of bleating.
It was goat number five.
It was the cuddliest, cutest li’l thing I ever did see. But then again, I’m the one who thinks dragonflies and giant rats are cute.
But this was cute for real — and it came out walking.
Overcome by acute adoration (pun intended), it occurred to me I was supposed to do something. But I didn’t remember what.
So I did the best thing a goat mom could do when she was unsure of her next step.
I called someone 100 miles away who knew nothing about goats.
“You washed and dried the baby, right?” he asked.
I threw the fire extinguisher and my cell phone in the dirt to run inside and retrieve 432 towels, the ones that were usually used to wash dogs and dye my hair red.
I carefully approached the goat pen, checking for truck tires nonetheless, then even more carefully approached the baby.
It tried to run. Its mom screamed manic. I wrapped it in a towel as it bleated like a bullhorn.
The dog started barking. The other four goats began to run in circles and scream. The person on the cell phone in the dirt could be heard yelling, “Are you OK?”
Once inside, I’d want to say the baby’s bleats subsided. But they did not. Rather, they reverberated off the tub tiles and then off the tub itself as I carefully rinsed debris from its tiny hooves to where its tiny horns would eventually be.
I dried it with a dye-your-hair-red towel so any blood just blended in.
As I put the bleating ball of fluff back into the pen, the mom goat ran over and, unlike birds that kick away their young who have been touched by human hands, she immediately accepted it.
The other goats didn’t.
Now I had one relieved mom goat — as she was finally unburdened after six years of pregnancy — surrounded by three grown goats who wanted to fight.
It was like a flashback to those playground bully scenes where Johnny is smaller and cuter than all the other kids (and also gets good grades) so Lumpy and Chunky and Butch decide they are going to beat him up.
Baby goat was throttled and butted at, even knocked down a few times until I realized I had to do something or baby goat would be baby dead goat.
Since it seemed the person who knew nothing about goats on the other end of the cell phone had gotten disconnected, I was on my own with this decision.
Thank goodness for the dog pen that the dogs jumped out of as I wrangled the mom goat and gently transported the baby halfway across the yard and into their own sanctuary.
As I watched them bond, cuddle and scream some more, I was overcome with a gorgeous enlightenment, so crazy it scared me — maybe the baby goat was actually cuter than a giant rat.
Ryn Gargulinski writes for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org