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Warning: A couple of the pics below may be unsettling. Please use your discretion.

 

One of the pleasurable side benefits of our chosen anchoring spot in Mt. Hartman Bay has been regularly watching three little goats nimbly working their way around the steep cliffside, just off our bow. While the goats aren’t present every day, they visit frequently enough to seem like residents of the area, and many of the cruisers have been known to stop and take photographs of them.

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Yesterday morning began like any other day, both for us and our four-legged neighbors. They were no doubt having a bit of breakfast themselves at the same time that Rebecca placed our bacon and eggs on the table. We had only had the opportunity to take one small bite though when we were interrupted by a horrific scream from the shoreline.

Startled by the sudden noise, Rebecca, Diane and I all looked up to see two of the goats scrambling up the cliffside, and what appeared to be something white in the water. Our assumption was that one of the goats had fallen into the water and was in trouble, so as the screaming continued, we, as quickly as possible, dropped our dinghy down from the davits, and set off to lend a hand. As we approached though, we could see that our initial assumption was not at all correct.

As Rebecca and I worked our dinghy closer to the rocky and shallow shoreline, we saw that one of the goats had not simply fallen into the water; it was instead being viciously attacked by two feral dogs. We started screaming at the mutts, trying to get them to stop, but they continued on with their assault. It wasn’t until I grabbed one of the paddles from the dinghy and started moving towards them that they took flight. Once the dogs left, the little goat, by then bleeding badly from the face and neck, stopped struggling, and lay quietly bleating in the water.

Not knowing exactly what to do, I picked up the goat, placed her in the dinghy, and we ferried her to shore. As I sat with the injured goat with my shirt wrapped around her neck to help stem the bleeding, Rebecca went off to find a phone in order to rally help. When one of the cruisers came across us, she volunteered to call the GSPCA to see if they could help. She was told that even though they didn’t normally deal with goats, if we could get her to them, they’d have a look. Once again, having our friends‘ vehicle paid off. This time, instead of a tour bus, it was now going to be an ambulance!

Rebecca held the little goat on her lap as we made our way through the busy morning traffic. As much of the bleeding appeared to have stopped, I had hopes that the goat would recover. Sadly though, after examining the poor creature, the doctor explained that the injuries were in fact quite severe, and that the goat was very much in shock. She advised that, given the circumstances, the humane thing to do was to put the young goat to sleep, and as she administered the appropriate drugs, we all remained close as she took her final breaths. As you can imagine, it was a sad start to our day!

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Huge thanks to the caring and patient doctors and staff of the GSPCA. Your help was very much appreciated!

16 Comments

  1. AWWW….SAD INDEED..!!!!

  2. It is sad, and I like goats. No animal deserves to be mauled. Unfortunately, when you look at the erosion of the land the goats are standing on, it is direct evidence of the huge damage they do. I mention that they were probably not wild dogs either. In my experience, wild dogs would not have been afraid of you and would have defended their kill for food. The behaviour is typical of roaming domestic dogs that kill for sport. Kind Regards, Steve Dyer. PS, I enjoy your posts and sorry the goat died too.

  3. Shock is nature’s ethanasia. You made it even easier. I had a similar thing happen with a small dog that was hit by a car in front of me a while ago. Tried to help him but he just passed. Anyway you did save the goat in the sense that at least he didn’t die being ripped apart by a snarling dog. I love that you tried to save his life and that you wrote about it. You are just good people.

    Many years ago, my wife and I were out sailing on Long Island Sound in a small craft advisory when we came upon a sea bird tangled in fishing line. We turned around and at great and foolish personal risk we managed to grab him and cut him free. You can imagine the claws and beak and us hanging off the pitching boat. I’ll never forget seeing him fly off. Like you we never thought about not helping.

  4. Ah – now I understand what you meant by no blood in the truck! I am sorry to hear about your goat friend and glad our vehicle could be of help.

  5. I read this and I swear I could hear my grandma say: “Bless their little hearts!” Sometimes it’s not easy living in paradise. I’ve rescued chickens, iguana and turtles on the island which would make some locals click their tongues. But if you see a creature in need of help, it’s hard to turn your head or walk away. We are lucky in Grenada that we have resources available to assist in humanitarian efforts.

    Good job Mike & Rebecca!

  6. It seems you want to live close to nature but you do not want to accept how nature works. Both the goats and the dog are wild animals, in fact invasive species in this case, and it is normal for wild dogs to chase and eat goats. Animals do this every day in order to survive. There is nothing special about it. But what you have done with your interference in the process is to deny the dead goat to be eaten by other animals, all part of the cycle of life. Goats may be cute and feral dogs ugly, but that should not guide your decision of whether to interfere with nature.

    • Actually, Tom, you know very little about what you’re talking about. These dogs are not coyotes, or wolves. They are pot hounds, and according to the vet that euthanized the goat, they are very inefficient killers, and would have done a shit job of the business of killing. This is also not wilderness. It is an area with many small pets, livestock, and children. If you think that dogs should be left to kill for sport, or for food, we are very much in disagreement. I think you’ll find that the local residents would agree with me, which is why they have been known to set out poison here and in Carriacou to kill the dogs.

  7. So you are saying that the dogs should be killed (by humans) but goats should not, even by other animals for food?
    I am familiar with the local situation, and as a dog owner I heartily disagree with locals who put out poison. Read this story about the side-effects:

    http://www.noonsite.com/Countries/StVincenttheGrenadines/warning-if-cruising-the-caribbean-with-pets

    Besides, the interference in this story has prolonged the pain of the goat (even considering some inefficency on the part of the dog) and depending of what was done to the cadaver, has wasted the meat.
    While I may have probably done something similar in the moment, you have to admit it was done for emotional and not rational reason.

    • I didn’t need to read that article, Tom. I’ve spent more time here the past six years than I have anywhere else. I know at least one person who has had their dog poisoned and killed. As a dog owner, would you be happier if these feral dogs, now with the taste of blood, ate your pet while it was still alive?

      What happened to the euthanized goat? I don’t know. I also don’t know what they do with the dogs and cats that they put down. Should that be relevant?

      You would have done something similar? Are you sure? We didn’t hesitate, that’s the point. I would have done the same for a goat, dog, cat, bird or a person. It’s just my nature, and I’d do it again.

  8. Besides, both the goats and dogs are equally non-indigenous and offspring of domesticated animals. As such they have an equal right to be there, if you will. Goats just look cuter and make better photos on a blog. Potential ecological damage by goats can include erosion (big problem in the Southern part of the island) through their voracious appetite for plants and shrub (whose roots prevent erosion).

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