Fainting goat shares her life story


(Editor’s note: With a busy season and remodeling projects under way, guest columnist and fainting goat Ms. O’Malley is taking a turn filling in for Judith Sutherland this week.)

My name is O’Malley. I would like to start this story with, “when I was just a kid…” but that would be too easy.

I was born to a nanny goat far, far away. I was one of a set of fraternal twins, my black and white brother being just a run-of-the-mill fainting goat. Me, I am a bit fancy and, dare I say, dashing beyond description. I am all shiny black with a white star on my head. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful, I say.

And I want you to know it takes a whole lot of bluster to scare me in to a faint. I am amused to watch the two-legged creatures attempt to make me drop and faint.

Silly things!

The beginning

When the master brought me to this farm, I met the woman I call Ma. She served both Mick and me warm, milky bottles several times a day. When we heard her coming in to the barn, we both called out “maaa! maaa!” We had lots of attention. Every single two-legged creature made a fuss over us and scratched our every itch. I thought I had landed in heaven.

Then, one day, the bottles just stopped coming. Oh, there was maybe one a day there for awhile, but in no time flat, there was nothing but water in the refreshment department. Then, to add insult to injury, the master moved us out of our own little apartment in the barn to a pen in the outdoors. We were placed with other goats, of all things. How dare they do this to me!

Not the same

Mick seemed just fine being a goat among goats. I decided I was having none of it, and began to plan my escape. I saw a low spot near the gate where the master came and went. I simply had to lie down, roll in a squished-up way, and I was free.

I followed master to the place they call home. He had the nerve to pick me up, carry me back to the goat dwelling place, fix that escape hatch and walk away.

I had other plans, and scuttled under yet another spot. I kept my distance for a bit, then just as he spotted me, I made a mad dash for the house, calling out “Ma! Ma!” as I went.

I made it to the porch well ahead of the master. Ma was waiting there for me, and she appeared delighted that I had won the race. I made a note to myself to keep my girlish figure so I could squish through fences forever.

No pen will hold me. Many things have happened since that day, including various attempts to put me back with the goats. I will have none of that.

The last attempt to fence me in failed so miserably that I was celebrating with a little dance on the back porch, asking Ma for a bottle, before the master even realized I had made a clean getaway. He called me a few names that I dare not repeat. I kicked up my heels, nibbled on his pant leg, and oh, I dropped a few berries on his foot for good measure. Ma was laughing so hard, I dare say I feared for her sanity.

When Ma goes away, I take to the shady spot near the other goats, like visiting relatives still incarcerated, I suppose. I munch on tender clover and a luscious grain mix out of a bag inside the barn, ever since I have learned how to open bags. I eat lightly and exercise a lot, staying fit and trim.

As soon as I see Ma return, I run just as fast as I can, calling out her name loudly, to greet her the minute she steps out of her car. I fear she would be lost without me leading her to the house.


A big lot of lumber arrived and Ma was applying some foul-smelling goop on them, though I have no idea why. It only made the wood look like darker wood, so what is the point, I ask.

To lighten the mood of her hard work, I decided to duck under those boards she had propped up every which way in the garage. She began yelling at me, saying “Stop!” So I did. When she reached for me, I decided to lie down, just out of her reach, stinky boards propped up between us. It was a very fun game while it lasted.


One night recently, lots of kids were here, gathered round a little fire. I stayed close to Ma, lying at her feet, listening to these folks making a fuss about me.

“O’Malley acts like she is a puppy!” one fool said. I wanted to urge them to look at the puppies, held inside a big pen nearby. Don’t mistake me for a simple-minded pup. No pen is gonna hold me!

I curl up quite often with the Shepherds, as they make a wonderful pillow when I nap on the back porch. I dream of conquering high places, sipping a warm bottle of milk.

The master rudely awakens me to say, “I wish you would start acting like a goat.”

Puh-leeze. I’m not a kid anymore.


Ms. Mighty O’Malley


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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