A sweet sorta-rescue played out on Facebook this week: Kenny, a Florida goat spared from the butcher himself, reached out to save a Colorado goat in need. It all started as a joke, says Karen Matyjasik, who raises goats in Central Florida. But next Thursday a baby goat with nowhere to go will fly cross-country to start a new life, all thanks to Kenny’s Facebook fans.
Karen says Kenny, a boer goat, was her son’s FFA project last fall, but was so charismatic her friend Mary Ann got all attached. Mary Ann started a facebook page called Kenny the Social Climbing Goat, reasoning that celebrities don’t get slaughtered. When FFA ended, they tutored him in wagon-pulling so he’d have another job. He collected admirers, like Dillie the Deer. He would shamelessly ask for fans: “There is a STUFFED BEAR out there with 1012 friends . What am I Chopped Liver?”
Then another friend and goat herder wrote about trying to find homes for her aging father’s goats, in particular a baby with no mother. “This one showed up with no momma started sucking a little off this one, a little off this one,” but no mother goat claimed her, Karen says.
Mary Ann and Karen, in the voice of Kenny, started pining for the goat they called Orphan Annie. She got Kenny to pose for a picture in front of the computer by sprinkling it with his favorite treat, Lucky Charms. ”As a joke we said she could come and live on our farm,” Karen says. ”It then took on a life of its own”
Kenny’s fans–now over 400–tried to figure something out. Denver’s NBC TV station KKCO reported the story. “Everybody was trying to get Annie to Florida,” she says. They found that Southwest wouldn’t take her, but Continental would; chipped in for the ticket; and russled up a ride to the airport.
Annie is set to arrive in Florida next Thursday. Karen will see if one of her mother goats will adopt her as a daughter. Karen is not trying to exaggerate the heroism of the cause. “It’s really not a super rescue,” she says. While most of her goats go to FFA students and some get to become pets or milk producers, some do go to slaughter. “I can’t deny it,” she says. “in order for me to keep Kenny and other goats, some of them have to be sold and some of them have to be sold for that.”
Meanwhile, though, she treats them well, dotes on them, really. And if Kenny finds another animal in need, he’ll jump to the rescue again.