Each day looks more like spring is just around the corner. Soon it will be time to haul out the lawn mower and prepare to mow grass once more.
Mowing grass, like snow shovelling, can be enjoyable in its own punishing way when done in 30 minute spurts with no deadline.
This winter, four of my neighbours kindly cleared my outer driveway whenever snow fell, help I sincerely appreciate.
The winter months have given me time to brace for summer chores and one idea nudges my thoughts more each day – that I should acquire a pygmy goat to take over lawn mowing.
I’ve had enough experience with a regular sized nanny to know goats are meticulous grazers, nip every blade leaving no unsightly scruffy patches.
They also prune trees and shrubs as high as they can reach, sometimes even climbing up a sturdy branch to highmark like a snowmobile on a steep mountain slope.
Feeding a goat costs far less than a dog. They are quiet except for an occasional bleat and don’t bark whenever a garbage truck arrives or clangs cans.
Goats never bite visitors which reduces the problem of getting to the gate to greet a visitor before the animal does.
Their manure fertilizes vegetation but never has anyone had to scrape a clump of it off their shoe, nor would I have to pick up the yard with a rake and shovel several times a week.
They are clean, require no grooming, and don’t smell. Neighbours who object to nanny goats use odour as an excuse to call in the by-law officer but those complaints are based on imagination, not actual fact.
Regional district animal bylaws seemed insurmountable to me until I read several articles this week that suggest an out, beginning with a person who flew on an airline with a turkey in his lap.
Legal restrictions (at least in the U.S.) limit emotional support animals to trained and certified dogs and miniature horses as the only livestock that can accompany owners on flights and in public places such as restaurants; however, claiming a wider range of animals as worthy of free flights under the guise they are necessary to calm jitters is trending.
The Americans with Disabilities Act allows ticket agents and maitre’d’s to ask someone with a service animal only two questions.
Is the animal required because of a disability? What work or task has the animal been trained to perform? Specific questions about a person’s disability are off limits.
Though legitimate agencies and trained animals exist, too often a letter from a doctor and paying an on-line agency a substantial fee can be enough to get fake credentials to flash successfully in the face of a skeptic gatekeeper.
A New Yorker article written by Patricia Marx published in the October 20, 2014 issue had me in stitches.
To test how easily ordinary animals can pass as certified emotional supports, Marx borrowed a 15 pound turtle; a 26 pound Royal Palm turkey; a 30 inch Mexican milk snake; a 26 pound pot bellied pig; and a 4 1/2 foot tall 105 pound alpaca.
With the turtle in tow she toured the Frick Collection art museum in New York City, took it to a high end deli, to a nail salon, and to a funeral chapel to make its funeral arrangements.
Shed then visited a historical museum with the alpaca, flew the pig to Boston where it grazed the Boston Common before catching a cab, rode a bus with the turkey, reserved tables in high places and shared tea.
New York and Boston didn’t turn up their nose. Surely the regional district can accept the reality of one pygmy goat.