Joshua joined our family of animals as a wee kid goat, wethered and dehorned, during the mid
1980's. My husband, Ward, and I were searching the Classified Want Ads for a used kitchen
stove to replace the one we had in our Cottage on our property. While visiting a home in
the country to look at a stove, we learned they raised goats for milk production, and sadly,
only the baby doe goats were kept. The buck goats were sent to the auction. We were
informed, without a doubt, they would be bought, ending up on someone's table. We did see
three little baby boy goats that day. Luckily during our visit, a young father and his
little son arrived to look at these three little boys, adopting two of them. I smiled and
thought, how wonderful a moment this was for me; but what about the remaining little boy
goat. Well, if you know me, the animal lover I have always been, just could not leave there
without bringing this third remaining baby goat home to Hickory Hill Farm. The stove was
loaded in the back of the truck; and, yes, the baby goat was loaded in the cab, lying across
my lap like a puppy dog.
On the way home, we chose to name him Joshua...Josh, would be his nickname. (Eventually, we
gave him a middle name, Göran, after his namesake, a good friend of ours from Sweden. Göran
was visiting us on one of his trips to the States; and during his stay in our home, Josh and
Göran became such good friends.)
We already had a small outbuilding that housed our feathered friends during the nights, and
there was fortunately space for Josh to have his very own living quarters. Ward closed off
an area with used mushroom boards that he was fortunate to retrieve from a mushroom house in
the area. The older boards are removed in the mushroom houses and replaced (this is
mushroom-growing Country...Kennett Square, PA...considered "Mushroom Capital of the World"
and there is a Mushroom Festival every year in early September).
Josh was only in his quarters at night and inclement weather. There were buckets for feed
and water in his room. Straw lined the cement floor, which was replaced every day with a
spreading of lime underneath the straw. During the day outside, Josh was on a very long
rope lead, stretching from his building to the north side of the bank barn (the barn's
sliding doors were left open for him to enter, if he so desired). Oh, we experimented,
placing Josh in the barnyard to be a companion to our remaining horse in our animal family,
Banjo. This turned out to be a definite 'No-No'...Josh hurdled the split rails around the
pasture like an athlete, frolicking free as a bird! It didn't bother Banjo though that
Josh would not stay in bounds with him to keep him company...Banjo would climb the hill from
the south side of the bank barn, walking along the split rail fence until he found Josh (who
was on his lead on the other side of the fence). No, Josh was not to evade Banjo. They
spent time daily together.
Josh grew to be a large goat...he was three-quarters French Alpine (they have erect ears
and come in many different color patterns) and one-quarter Anglo-Nubian (have convex noses).
Nubians are one of the larger breeds and have a reputation of being somewhat stubborn.
They are very vocal with strong personalities. In his latter years when he stood on his
hind two legs, leaning on his gate (because he knew it was time to go outside), we were eye
to eye...and I am 5 feet 9 inches.
During his younger years, Josh would walk the fields behind our property with the three dogs
and myself in the afternoons without a lead. Sometimes, he would run with the dogs for a
while, and then he would all of a sudden come to a halt, looking back in the distance for
me. He would then run back, turning around, and walk beside me. He was comical, so smart,
and I must tell you, so handsome (he had a fine goatee).
When we would take our long walks during the Fall, I would dress him in an orange nylon vest
for his own safety. You see, he looked somewhat like a deer and I feared a hunter might
mistake him for one...Josh was half fawn color from his head to his waist and his remaining
lower half was white, with a few black spots here and there. As we walked, I called out
"Ahoy!" every now and then, to alert any hunters. I had learned this warning previously
from an Aunt of mine in Berks County, PA, as she and I would go horseback riding in the
early mornings, during my visits. This brings back a memory of mine...one morning, there
was just a slight covering of fresh snow that had fallen during the night; and as we rode
horseback through the woods, it was so quiet and peaceful, except for the little crunching
sound from the horses' hoofs in the snow, and yes, from our "Ahoy's" every so often.
Another favorite venture for Josh was to join the dogs and me on walking excursions in the
woods nearby to a wild refuge pond. The dogs were black Labrador Retrievers and as you are
well aware, Labrador Retrievers are fond water lovers. As the dogs played joyfully in the
water retrieving rocks to bring on land, Josh would dash around the pond watching their
ongoing activity with much curiosity.
Joshua lived with us for almost 13 years before we eventually lost Josh to Cancer. We
noticed a sore that would not heal above his upper lip under his nose and we contacted the
New Bolton Center (University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine's 'large
animal clinic') in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. A Veterinarian, specializing in goats,
visited here to look at Josh. He was diagnosed with skin Cancer. Although Cancer is not a
real common ailment in goats, the most frequent locations for skin cancers are found around
the mouth, ears, and scrotum. A hospital visit was set up and Josh was loaded into their
animal van and taken to the facility for forthcoming surgery, spending a week in the clinic
under watchful eyes.
We were fortunate to have Josh come home, hoping that all of the Cancer tissue had been
removed. I cooked fresh vegetables, mashing them in the water they were cooked in so he
could 'slurp' the food into his mouth, for him to eat without difficulty. Although a
Chemotherapy cream was administered to the area daily, we could see it was not doing the
trick killing any Cancer that might have been still remaining after surgery...it was
unfortunately returning. In time, we had to say our goodbyes to Joshua...he would be
joining our past animals who left us, in the Rainbow Pasture. Joshua's remains are buried
in our Family Pet Cemetery in the Orchard on our property. We have many fond memories of
Joshua Göran Kissell Goat.
Fortunately, the costs for Josh's surgery procedure and his hospital stay were covered under
a Grant that is issued to this institution on a yearly basis. New Bolton Center is also a
learning facility for students who will one day, be our future Veterinarians. It is a
magnificent establishment; and my husband and I have attended their Open House functions. I
am including a web site below if you are interested in reading about the New Bolton Center.
New Bolton Center
An interesting tidbit follows...
A few years ago, driving by a farm on the back roads to my super market, I noticed a goat in
the pasture that had looked a lot like our Josh. I stopped to inquire about the goat. I
learned that he came from the New Bolton Center to live there and his name was "Halothane".
I thought what an odd name . Well, "Halothane" is an anesthetic drug. "Halothane's"
sole purpose at the New Bolton Center was 'going to sleep' under anesthesia. He was a
learning tool for the Veterinarian students. Eventually, "Halothane" had reached his quota,
going under anesthesia, and was relieved of his sleeping duties. His job was done, thus
retiring to this farm.