Yesterday, a herd of over 100 goats broke free and descended upon a neighbourhood in San Jose, California. The herd usually spends their days eating brush and weeds to help prevent wildfires, but yesterday they decided that they had other plans. They organised collectively to break through an electric fence and liberate themselves to invade a fancy neighbourhood. Residents were surprised and perhaps a bit worried that the goats would damage their chemically grown lawns. However, the goat liberation was short lived, and the goats were eventually rounded up and returned to their grazing. What a time to be alive.
Social distancing, lockdowns and quarantines are difficult for all. To stay connected, perhaps hold onto hope and find solidarity amongst people across the globe, a Facebook group has emerged called View From My Window. The rules are simple – you post where you are in the world and the view from your window – as we are all must stay inside as much as possible. People from all over the world have posted lovely pictures, but yesterday someone posted one and has kindly given me permission to use it here.
I am pleased to introduce you to Zippy from Killiechronan, Isle of Mull, Scotland and his brother George. Their human friend, Jean O’Donnell shared the first photo and sent along a few others to share.
My whole life I have been a square peg in a round hole. I always marched to the beat of my own drum, I always looked for the road less traveled, and never tried too hard to fit in. I saw these quirks as my strengths in life, and many times they have been strengths and are what makes me who I am.
However, if there was any time to bravely be a sheep, it is now. Listen to the scientists, listen to the health experts, wash your hands, stay inside, wear a mask, keep away from others and you will save lives. It is that simple. Your time to shine, to party, to interact, to hug and embrace will come again, so long as we all do our part now.
Sometimes you just need to seize the opportunity and find some joy in the world. That is what a herd of mountain goats in Wales did a few days ago. Although humans across the UK are in lockdown, the Prime Minister did not extend the new rules to combat the spread of SARS-COV-2 to goats. Thus, the gang of goats saw their opportunity to descend upon the town of Llandudno. Locals (who I assume were following social distancing protocols and noticed the goats on essential errands or the one hour of outside exercise time per day) found the goats roaming the streets and hanging out as though they were meant to be there all along. And perhaps they were.
I would most of all like to thank the many people who shared this amazing story with me over the past few days. This story brought me great joy, as does the fact that people reach out with goat related shenanigans. Please note that I did not take any of these photographs.
I suppose given the day’s events we can justifiably say, avoid shaking hands with one another for the time being. Although I hate to wish the virus on anyone, it seems somewhat fitting that after defying world health experts that some people ended up with the virus in the end after all. I would recommend taking different actions like elbow bumps; however, maintaining six feet or two metres distance precludes that as well.
So, for the weekend, perhaps plan the ultimate staycation. Please note, it’s ok to snuggle with those who you live with, although avoid touching anyone else and keep washing your hands!
There is so much information out there about how to handle current events. The best advice is of course, stay calm and wash your hands. Washing your hands protects you, your loved ones and your community and is generally just a good idea. Even in normal circumstances, hand washing is important to prevent the spread of disease and to stay healthy – and to help keep your loved ones who may have compromised immune systems healthy.
I usually like to post about hero goats who have been valiantly eating underbrush and growth to prevent wildfires. The science is clear that the increase in prevalence and intensity of wildfires in the western United States and in Australia are caused by the climate crisis and general warming of the planet. However, the climate crisis effects different regions in different ways. For example, over the summer the southeastern United States suffered a terrible drought. What does this have to do with goats? Our friend Otis from The Haven Zoo has been dealing with a zinc deficiency due to over-dried, nutrient lacking hay caused by the drought. For Otis, this means that he has lost some of his hair and has to see a veterinarian regularly to care for his skin. Sometimes it’s easy to think that the climate crisis only effects far away corners of the planet, but the same mechanisms that are causing the horrific wildfires are causing problems everywhere. I still believe that with the right collective energy, humanity and its animal friends can mitigate some of the worst effects. Small changes to your lifestyle can make a big impact, as well as supporting policy-makers committed to a greener future.
If you have read the news over the first week of the new decade, you may be feeling overwhelmed and potentially isolated. The headlines are dramatic and somewhat bleak; however, take hope. One of the reasons our species evolved to build cathedrals, send humans to the moon and eradicate deadly diseases is we came together to solve problems and create amazing things. Truly evolved humans don’t go it alone – if we act now we can make a better world for each other and the future.
Once upon a time there was a famous general who shared her wisdom with a friend. She said “take your broken heart and make it into art.” From any heartache or setback, there is always hope that things will get better. Make amazing things and practice radical kindness and you never know you might just change the world.
Instead of getting in your car, go for a walk. It’s better for the planet and for your body. Plus you never know what wonderful things you might encounter along the way.