Nov 17 2010

The Ultimate Green Pet

If I had to choose one farm animal to epitomize this trip, it would have to be the goat. (I know you’ve been wondering.) This started, obviously, with our experience on the French dairy farm, in which our daily existence revolved around the milking needs of 28 goats.

But our interactions with goats didn’t end there. Every country we’ve been in has had goats, and they’ve all looked slightly different. We’ve seen black goats, white long-haired goats, stumpy looking pygmy goats, and goats with long, floppy ears that make them look like bassett hounds. We’ve seen goats on farms, goats on the side of the road, goats galloping across pastures, goats perched on top of buckets, goats riding on luggage racks and, my personal favorite, a goat traveling on the back seat of a bus (it had the whole row to itself). I’ve started developing a real soft spot for the goats, the sort of affection I usually reserve for golden retriever puppies. I’ve also started wanting a goat of my own.

We admitted our goat love to Mark and Teresa, a couple we met at the yoga center and whom we later stayed with in Hong Kong. It turned out that they, too, shared our goat obsession. And as we discussed the many attributes of the goat, we came to a startling conclusion: goats might just be the ultimate green pet.

Think about it:

1. Goats eat everything. Forget the time-consuming process of composting your kitchen scraps. Just feed it to your goat!

2. Goats make fertilizer. Yesterday’s leftovers = today’s soil booster. My mother recently told me that she saw alpaca droppings being marketed for use in home gardens. A great idea, but when it comes to farm animal pets, alpacas seem a little bourgeois. Goats are much more down to earth.

3. Goats keep you warm. Get an angora goat and you can make a sweater. And if you don’t have a garden in need of fertilizer, you can use goat droppings the Tibetan way: burn them as kindling. A little smelly, yes, but the tiny pellets are surprisingly effective fire-starters.

4. Goats make good cheese. Impress family and friends with your homemade chevre. You can’t do that with a dog.

5. If all else fails, you can eat them.

In conclusion, I believe that goats are the ultimate green pet. Now I just need to figure out if they’re allowed in Philly.