The Saga of the Goat, Part 2: The Home Pregnancy Test

When the goats’ first summer at camp ended, Head Wrangler sent them off to stay at a nearby farm for the winter.  This would lighten the work load when the surplus of summer staff left for the winter.  Also,the hope was that the goats would get pregnant while they lived with a small herd all winter.  Unfortunately, one of the goats didn’t make it through the harsh winter.  When the surviving goat came back, she was very lonely in the goat pen.  Head Wrangler decided to let her roam free in the stable yard.

She became like a mascot and a menace rolled into one.  She would hang out with the wranglers while we worked.  She was fairly affectionate–probably because we all thought it was fun to share our snacks with her and find out if there way anything she WOULDN’T eat.  (There wasn’t.)  In that regard, she was like a loyal puppy dog following us around.   She would even follow us to dinner and wait outside the dining hall for us, and then follow us to our cabin!

However, she also left little piles of pebble turds everywhere she went.  She discovered that the door to the office and lounge area didn’t close properly, and we would return from trail rides to find that she had eaten pages out of Bibles and peed on the floor.  She even chewed up my straw hat!  This behavior led to much controversy over choosing a name for her.  Some of us called her Jezebel or Delilah; some called her Stupid or Idiot.  No one could really agree, and poor Goat never had an official name.

As  summer wore on, Goat’s belly grew.  We were all expecting her to give birth at any moment.  We were checking her udder for milk and palpating her belly to see if we could feel a kid or two in there.  We were certain we could feel various body parts of baby goats.  It had to be any day now!  Camp authorities didn’t care much either way if Goat was actually pregnant; it didn’t really matter either way, so there was no point in having the vet come out to check her.  However, all of us wranglers were insatiably curious as to whether or not we were going to get to pet newborn baby goats that summer.

There wasn’t a whole lot to do during our time off around camp, so many times we drove to town wandered the aisles of Kmart and FleetFarm.  On one of these excursions, we got the idea to buy a home pregnancy test for Goat.  One wrangler  was not too embarrassed to actually purchase it, so we chipped in a couple dollars each and all of us “good Christian girls” giggled our way through the check out line, out of the store, and all the way home to camp.  Of course, we had no idea if a human pregnancy test would work on a goat, but it was a fun experiment as far as we were concerned!

During that week we had 12 wranglers, all ready and willing to do the work that 4 would normally do during the off-season.  The result was that the barn had never been so clean before, and probably hasn’t been that clean since then.  The second a horse pooped, an eager wrangler was there to clean it up.  We raked the barnyard several times a day, leaving tidy rows of lines and bits of hay glistening in the sun.  I did not feel any compunction about assigning two of the wranglers who had chipped in for the pregnancy test to follow Goat around with the stick, hoping to catch some urine.

After half an hour or so, they started to get bored.  “I don’t get it!  She is ALWAYS going to the bathroom!  Why won’t she pee?  Is there something we can do to make her pee?”

“I don’t know.  Feed her some Coke?”  I joked.

Five minutes later they came back, holding out a dollar.  “Is it okay if we run to the canteen to get a Coke?”  I looked at the tidy stable porch and the rows of horses hitched to the post, tacked up and waiting for the trail rides to begin.

“Sure, why not?” I laughed.

Goat truly appreciated the bottle of Cherry Coke the wrangler girls poured into a bucket for her.  She licked the bucket dry, and showed her appreciation 10 minutes later by peeing a fountain for the girls.  I don’t think anyone has ever been so excited about a goat peeing–not in the history of all mankind.

We gathered around the test stick and watched the control line appear.  Not many women learn how to use a home pregnancy test this way!  This was one special goat, to get her very own crowd of ladies clustered around her pregnancy test.  I would remember that moment many years later when I started using the tests myself, hoping for my first baby.

Anyway, we watched and waited, checking the clock, until we were sure the second line was not going to appear.

With this anticlimactic result, we shrugged our shoulders and went back to work–still unsure if Goat was indeed not pregnant, and just fat, or if she was pregnant, but the test didn’t work because she was a Goat.

One of my favorite sayings is “Time reveals all truth.”  As the summer wore on and Goat never went into labor, the truth became obvious: her burgeoning belly was merely attributable to the snacks that we so willingly (and sometimes unwillingly–DARN THAT LITTLE BANDIT!) shared with her.  Too many Jolly Ranchers, Twizzlers, leftover milkshakes, soda, chips, and other junk that hard-working teenagers are sure to have on hand.  Not to mention my hat that she ate, the Bibles she destroyed, kid’s homework and tests for horsemanship class–that stuff all had to have calories, right?  Let’s not forget about the pretzels in the bathroom!  But that’s a story for another day.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dee
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 08:41:10

    Did you ever find out from a vet whether a home pregnancy test will work with a goat? Your story is hilarious. We have goats, too.

    Like

    Reply

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