Pygmy goat’s antics entertain pasersby
Some members of the Packard family want to be known as more than the people with the goat that lives on their porch in Jarbalo. But for at least the past four years the family has not been able to escape the notoriety.
"I'm very embarrassed by it, but I don't want a goat living on my front porch," Tina Packard said. "She always wants to get back on the porch, which is so frustrating."
The "she" that is the cause of consternation is Sugar, a 10-year-old pygmy goat.
But as much as Tina gets frustrated by the reputation her family has gotten and by constantly having to clean up after Sugar, she and her family love their small, curious little pet.
"Actually, we call her our 'gog,' a goat that thinks she's a dog," said Cliff Packard, Tina's husband.
Each of the Packards have their favorite Sugar story, like her inexplicable ability to exploit the weakest point of any pen used to hold her and somehow "Houdini" her way out; or when Sugar befriended the Packard's cat Snowpaws, a short time after Sugar's twin sister Abbey's death, and the pair could be seen sleeping together on cold winter nights or roaming the yard with Snowpaws riding around on Sugar's back.
But their favorite story has to be when a passenger of a car that had pulled over to the side of the road came to the Packard's front door to tell the Packards what Sugar was doing.
"A woman said, 'Are you the ones with the goat,' and I said yes because we are known as the ones with the goat," Cliff said. "The people out in the car were just dying of laughter. "
As it turned out, Sugar had found a bag of Sun Chips and was attempting to eat the remaining crumbs and lick the salt off of the sides when she got her head stuck in the bag.
"She wouldn't move; she was just standing there motionless. (The woman) thought she might get on the road and get hit, but she wasn't moving."
When Cliff got the bag off of Sugar's head, Sugar just stood there and continued to lick her lips.
The story of how the Packards got Sugar began more than 10 years ago. Tina's brother, who drove for Kansas Gas, told Tina about a woman on his route that could not afford to take care of her twin pygmy goats.
"We just decided to take them in, and then they became our pets," Tina said.
The family named the twin goats Abbey and Sugar. For many years the two goats were inseparable, always wandering around and getting into mischief, like climbing into Tina's father's cow pen to hang out with the cows.
When the goats were around 7 years old, Abbey got sick and within a day she had died.
After Abbey's death, the Packards said, Sugar changed. She was not as adventurous as she used to be. She would never leave the area around the house. For a time, she would not go into the doghouse where she and her sister had stayed until Max, Tina's son, and Cliff cleaned it from top to bottom.
Last summer, Sugar got sick and wouldn't eat or drink anything. Tina, Cliff, Max and Tina's daughter, Allie, all took care of Sugar, trying to nurse her back to health. It got to the point where Tina's uncle had even volunteered to put Sugar down, but she recovered within a week.
"Before he could get out here she just got up and started eating again," Cliff said.
That wasn't Sugar's only brush with death. Twice Sugar has been attacked by dogs -- once by a dog belonging to Tina's father and the other by two strays.
Cliff described the scene last December when one of the stray dogs was pulling on Sugar's legs while the other was pulling on Sugar's neck. Cliff managed to scare off the dogs, but not in time to prevent the damage.
"I thought they had killed her then, but a couple of days later she was fine," Cliff said. "She's the goat that won't die."
Sugar will be celebrating her 11th birthday in September and despite having the reputation as the people with the goat, the Packard family hopes to keep her around for a long time.