Upon my return from Nepal, I wrote a blog post about the magic of the goat. The goat exists as a highly functional creature, producing milk and meat, and generally has a likeable comportment. It’s starting to gain popularity in the pet food world as a novel protein, generally allergen-friendly, with a flavor pets crave. I’ve also already mentioned the probiotics found in raw goat milk - seriously, one of my coworkers told me it saved a cat’s life after she recommended it to a customer desperate for a solution to their cat’s lack of bowel movements.
Sadly, I’m lactose-intolerant and the allergy applies to goat milk. However, I absolutely love goats, and their presence in Nepal was quite palpable.
Much of life in Nepal depends on agriculture, with rice and tea being huge cash crops and staples in Nepali culture. Within Nepal, the prevalence of Hinduism and poverty means most Nepalis are vegetarian - however, during a festival, if a family were to eat meat, it might be goat served with a side of rice and lentils. Thus, farmers wander towns with their goats in close proximity. I’ve been able to pet them as I’ve walked past. I’ve also made acquaintance with goats before I’ve eaten them; such was the case with the goat I discovered in the family barn the night before it was sacrificed. I tried to calm it by petting its ears. An ineffective method, as it nervous-peed on my shoes.
Indeed, goats made appearances in unexpected places. Once, two men on a motorbike passed me in the street on the way to Kathmandu - a goat nestled between them, legs dangling over the wheels. I can imagine how that ride must have transpired, but at that moment, the goat seemed to have accepted its fate, as it rode without protest.
Another time, a bus trundled its way down my road, and I glanced up in time to register a goat curled up on the roof of the bus, placed as a bike or boat.
But my favorite #unexpectedgoat took place on the bus to Kathmandu, when another volunteer and I spotted a man bee lining for the bus with two goats in tow. We thought, “He’s not really...is he?”
In Nepal, of course he would - and the goats reacted as expected, bleating and scrambling through the aisles of the bus as it lurched over unpaved roads. After a while they calmed and sat, but still received side eyes and glares from fellow passengers.
Goats are gaining presence in Portland as well. They can be rented out to demolish blackberry overgrowths, and take residence in homes as companions. I even recently saw a couple walking their goats on leashes in a Portland park.
I could rhapsodize on about the beauty of goat creatures. But, for now, I’ll leave you with my recommendations: try goat for yourself. It’s possible to find goat meat at world markets. I suggest fully saturating it with garlic and pressure cooking it until tender. Find a classic Nepali recipe - or other recipes from other countries around the world. Next, if you have a meat-eating animal and you love it dearly, try finding food with goat or goat-based treats. My personal favorite is the Sojos freeze-dried goat chunks - perfect for a picky pet or one with food allergies.
Finally, I have to ask you: which is your favorite nontraditional pet? Or, how have you come across goats in Portland or around the world?