My neighbor bought an eight-month-old buck from me last year. We had breakfast together the other day and he told me how he had a little trouble getting it on the plane to his brother in Texas. It seems that the main problem was the airline's lack of appreciation for the entrancing odor of an eight-month-old buck in January. Here is his story.
"When I pulled up to the airport terminal I had Mufasa (the buck) all packed up in his dog carrier in the back of my pickup. When the people that got out of the car next to me started hurrying away with a funny look on their faces, like they just ate a whole lemon, I started to wonder if I shoulda' given him a bath. I decided that was just plum crazy, seein' as how I ain't stupid enough to actually touch an animal that smells like that.
"So I wandered in to stand in line at the terminal. The man next to me seemed to be worrying about B.O. or somthin', 'cause he kept smellin' his underarms. I just can't hardly stand it when folks act that a ways in public. Can you? Anyways, I finally got up to the front of the line, and asked the lady at the check-in counter where I was supposed to drive this here goat I was shippin' so they could put him right on the airplane. She was one of them little bulldog lookin' gals, and she looked even more like one when she started sniffin' the air like that while she looked at me like I was somethin' ugly. You know? Finally she said, 'I'm sorry sir, but we don't ship goats.' Well, I didn't let her get away with that for a minute, seein' as how I made that reservation a week ahead of time! Then she said, 'Well, anything shipped on this airplane will have to come across this counter!' Well sir, I tried to tell her that she would probably really like it better if I was to drive that there goat right up to the airplane for her, but she wasn't goin' to have none of that. So I just said, 'Yes ma-um.' And started to leave to go get my goat.
"The other gal at the desk kinda caught up with me and said, 'You know something you're not telling, don't you?' 'Yes ma-um.' Well, I loaded up that dog carrier, and my little son, Jerad, helped me out by keepin' a hand on it so it wouldn't fall off of the hand truck. And in we came, me and Jerad. 'Ceptin, Jerad wasn't really that much help 'cause he only had one hand to hold on to the dog carrier 'cause he needed the other one to hold his nose! I've never seen a building clear so fast as when the trailing wind followin' us blew Mufasa's scent through that terminal! We just rolled right up to the counter and loaded him on to the scale. The smarter gal behind the counter proved it - by leaving. Her parting words were 'She insisted - she can deal with it'.
"By the time the little bulldog gal got all her paper work done up, she had tears running down her face. She asked me if I couldn't move the goat out back. Well, I just grinned and said, 'I'm sorry ma-um, but I'm just an old Texas goat rancher, and anythin' that's shipped on your airplane has too come across your counter.' And I just turned around and started to walk right out. Just then a pilot came in, kinda sniffed around, and said, 'Who's dog is that in that carrier?' I said, 'That ain't no dog, that there is a goat!' Well, he turned to me and said, 'Boy I'm sure glad of that!' 'Now,' I said, 'why would you be glad that you're shipping a smelly old goat on your nice clean airplane?' The pilot just chuckled and said, 'I would hate to think that anybody had dog that was as smelly and ugly as that!'
"I was still laughin' as I left the terminal and got a nice breath of fresh air."
Gail Bowman raises South African Boer goats in Idaho and can be reached at 208-543-2217, or FAX 208-734-0832. Her address is PO Box 1626, Twin Falls, ID 83303. Or you can
. Gail is the author of the book Raising Meat Goats For Profit.