There’s always a goat

I came home from teaching a course about the tools that office workers need to be productive to an open calendar and three or four blog posts waiting to get out of my head onto the screen. As I settled in to work, I noticed that my big dog was barking his “something needs my attention” bark; a bark that didn’t stop and didn’t shift as it would if he were following someone moving on the street. I went out to see what had his attention.

One of my neighbor’s goats had died.

Farm, or even backyard-farm, life is often not pretty. One thing I know for sure is that once there’s a problem, it won’t get any better on its own. We had a similar situation earlier that year.  When you find a dead possum on your porch in July, you will have to take action long before you can wait until the problem solves itself.

I called the goat’s owner. We talked about what to do with the body, and fortunately, I thought of the tigers. The Carolina Tiger Rescue facility was happy to take her, but they couldn’t come and pick her up.   I loaded her into the bed of my truck and delivered her. By the time I came home, the afternoon was gone and the evening’s schedule called.

It is in the nature of goats to disrupt schedules and plans, but it is also in the nature of schedules and plans to be disrupted. Your life may never cross paths with a real live goat, or even a dead one. Count yourself lucky. But every life has its own goat-equivalent. Most of the time, schedules are disrupted with the addition of “something else, more, additional.” We don’t even think of it as “disruptive” when we discover a chunk of the plan doesn’t have to be completed, although it’s as much of a change as finding out we have a new responsibility.

There’s always a goat, even if sometimes, the goat is a possum, or a kitten.

When I don’t want to think about goats, I use a phrase provided by a friend who works at the Animal Shelter:  “Kittens do not take zero minutes.”


  1. So incredibly well said. And interesting! As usual. 🙂

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