Willie T for Trouble and the hedge

Published 8:05 am Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Lately, I’ve been writing rather deep and serious columns, so today, I want to tell you a true story about my pet goat, Willie T for Trouble.

I wanted to change the pace a bit.

I had three Nubian goats as pets for years when we lived and managed a thoroughbred horse farm in Winchester. I loved them all, but Willie T was my favorite.

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During my time with them, I learned why goats have such small heads. It’s because their brain is the size of a pea. That’s why. They don’t need big heads.

I never removed and measured Willie’s brain, although on occasion, I came dangerously close. After living with him for a while, I knew his IQ was somewhere around five, on a good day.

One day, as I sat quietly after showering and treating multiple cuts on my arms, legs and torso, I tried to recall exactly why Willie T even lived with us.

The memory has dimmed, but let me tell you this story.

In a rare moment, I decided to trim the hedge around the front veranda. I didn’t do this too often because of all the snakes that have decided to inhabit the veranda and under the hedge.

But the hedges were awfully high and out of shape, the day was perfect and I felt great, so I let Willie T out of the barn to munch and play in the yard while I trimmed.

Well, he did his thing and I did mine with no problem. Until it happened.

One minute my goat was on the veranda at a dead standstill and the next moment, he was airborne. He landed deep into the 5-foot-high hedge and sank amid the gnarled roots and Lord knows what else.

Only the very top of his black little head showed.

Then he started to moan and I bent down to help him out. It was no longer funny. Willie T was completely hung up and could not move up, down or certainly not out.

Being the intelligent, animal-loving person I am, I started pulling his front legs and hissing, “Willie T, you get your behind out of there this instant.”

He bleated pitifully.

Now what? I went around to the front of the hedge and tried to separate the thick branches to make a path for him.

Something was pinning him down. This goat weighed more than 200 pounds and didn’t have the smarts to get out himself. I knew what that meant.

I had to lower myself into that dark territory where snakes lived. The very thought of this made me numb with fear.

I was going to have to put my money where my mouth was because often I talked about faith. I told God I was trusting Him to reroute the snakes away from me and down I went, my heart thumping wildly.

I pulled and tugged, trying desperately to unscramble his legs from the roots. After about five minutes, I slipped my arms under his body and lifted him up and out of the hedge — how, I will never know.

Once free, he bounded out of my arms with only a few cuts and scratches while I looked like Peter Rabbit after a night in the briar patch.

Heaving myself back up to the veranda, I thanked God for protecting me. As I put Willie T back in the barn with the other goats, you should have heard him tell them about his harrowing near-death escape from the clutches of the front hedge. (I swear I heard him say that.) Right then and there I decided to leave the hedge trimming to someone else.

By the way, I still ask myself why I adopted three baby Nubian goats as pets.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.