The Amazing Adventures of Dusty and Goat

Clearly the biggest news in the Freedom area today is the continued freedom of an escaped goat who’s been spotted just about everywhere, but has somehow managed to elude capture. People have been trying to come up with a cute name for him, but I’m just going to call him Goat, because a cool guy like Goat shouldn’t have a cute name. Here’s Goat in someone’s backyard. Lisa Wheeler Grimes took the picture.


Now if you look closely at Goat, you’ll notice a couple things, first off, he’s pretty damned good looking. Second, he’s saying, “Lady, don’t mess with me. I’ve got horns.” And third he’s saying, “I don’t want no cute name.”

Anyway, no one has come as close to capturing Goat as Lisa, who grew up with goats and speaks their language. Here’s what she told me.

“Just had the goat trapped in someone’s backyard. I followed him from piney ridge town homes. Had to be the most interesting trip to the store ever. As I came back into the complex I saw what I at first thought was a Great Dane.

“Then I saw his horns. He was very scared. He crossed piney ridge into the housing development and finally went into someone’s back yard with a wooden fence, so I closed the gate and he went onto their deck.

“I didn’t want him to destroy their property but, I didn’t want him to get hurt either. And, don’t laugh but, I spoke goat to him lol. I grew up on a farm and that’s what we used to do.

“That got his attention and we had a fine conversation in ‘Goat language.’

“I called animal control and gave them the address and they were there in five minutes. He jumped the fence into the next yard. Another animal control person came with more equipment and I just stood back to let them do their job.

“He got out of that yard as well, but it looked as if they had it under control and hopefully this beautiful creature will be taken care of and returned to his owner.”

Good job, Lisa. Unfortunately, she was wrong. Animal control did not have the situation under control. She called back later and found out that animal control had failed. Goat was still on the loose and desperately confused and hoping to meet someone else who spoke goat.

Meanwhile, there’s a camel on the loose. I’m not kidding. My friend, Don West, who lives on a small farm outside Westminster, has among his many other animals, a camel named Lancelot, and when I heard about the goat, I got to worrying about Lancelot and contacted Don. Here he is.


That’s not Don, that’s Lancelot, and yes he is a camel, and yes he does live in Carroll County, and although he is on the loose in a sense, he’s under Don’s control, and not roaming the streets of Westminster or anywhere else in Carroll County, but just imagine! I mean, okay, Goat is cool and funny, but could you picture Lancelot strolling down 32? I mean if we can’t handle a goat, how are we going to handle a full-blown camel?

We’d have a Facebook meltdown and the entire county would come to a standstill.

I can’t say this with absolute certainty, but I’ll bet Lancelot is the only camel in Carroll County.

There are all kinds of animals and animal people in Carroll County. My daughter, Juliette, just accepted a paid internship (she’s a student at McDaniel studying history) with a guy who has a barn full of tortoises and lizards. Yes, I know this has nothing to do with history, but that’s beside the point. He does parties. He brings his lizards. I suspect they’re mostly parties for boys.

Apparently Juliette’s job is to handle the lizards and the tortoises.

The first test he gave her to see if she was qualified was to toss her a large tortoise. She caught it. For some reason she loves lizards. She’d pet a T-Rex if given the opportunity.

I like people who like animals. Now my wife, let me tell you about her, and then I’ll get back to Goat. We had these stray cats we brought in who she told me we would find homes for. And we did. Eventually. With us.

So they lived in our garage for a couple weeks, and every morning before starting my car, I would pop my hood and get them out. (I don’t know why they were always in there. They were like two cat Houdinis. We’d tie them up with chains at night, lock them in an iron safe, then sink them in our swimming pool, and the next morning they’d be in my engine. It was uncanny.)

Anyway, one day the smart one (talking relative here, they were both geniuses) escaped. He was gone three days. Andrea was going nuts. I must have looked out the back slider for that cat a thousand times.

So Andrea hired these people who use dogs to track strays. The dogs came to our house and sniffed around, sniffed the cat’s litter and things like that, and then they went off in search of Dusty.

I’m at work. I get a call from Andrea. She’s all out of breath. She’s calling from like the middle of the Patapsco River. I’m not kidding. She and the dog lady and the dogs are crossing the river or some big stream or something on Dusty’s trail.

She’s telling me this at work and panting real loud and everyone at work is like, “Jack, why is your mouth hanging open?” And I really don’t want to tell them it’s because my wife is calling me from the middle of the stream she’s fording with a pack of dogs in search of our kitten.

Anyway, people are helping on Facebook. People are calling around. Everyone’s looking for Dusty, but the dogs fail, the people fail, everything fails.

But the tracker lady gives Andrea a trick to try. So here’s what she does. Andrea goes to the last spot where the tracker dog got a sniff of Dusty’s scent, and she makes a trail of cat litter back to our house. She goes through the yards of other people. She climbs over fences. All with a bag of cat litter, which she’s sprinkling about like pixie dust. Except it’s not pixie dust. It’s dirty litter with Dusty’s scent on it, because if you’re a cat, naturally you’re going to follow a trail of your own urine home, right?

Someone caught Andrea doing it, too. The guy comes out and goes, “What are you doing in my yard?” And Andrea says, “I’m leaving a trail of cat litter so my kitten will follow it home.” And the guy’s like, “Oh.”

So we go to bed that night. Andrea’s excited about the litter trail. I’m wondering about her mental health. Around 4 a.m. I wake up for some reason, and I think let me go see if the stupid cat followed the litter trail home. I open the slider. I yell his name. I’ve been doing it for days. I feel like a hopeless idiot, but I console myself with the fact that I haven’t been caught trailing cat litter through some guy’s yard.

I catch a whiff of litter on the wind. No cat. Of course, there’s no cat. He’s lost. He’s gone. He’s only about three months old, and he’s dead. He screwed up. He’s trapped somewhere and starving and he’s been devoured by…I don’t know. I just know he’s dead. I hang my head and go back inside.

I just sit on the couch and sort of stare toward the slider. I blink. I nod off a bit. I open my eyes. I blink a few more times. And between blinks the cat appears at the stinking door. Then I blink several times in rapid succession. Then I shake my head a few times. Then I jump to my feet and run to the door.

I open it. The cat walks right past me and gets a drink of water.

Upstairs, Juliette, Anna, and Andrea are all sleeping the sad sleeps of females who’ve lost their kitten. I sort of fly up the stairs. I don’t actually hit any. I flick on the light in the hallway, and I shout. “He’s home.”

Immediately the hallway is filled with girls. Andrea takes one look at me. She says, “No.” I say, “Yes.” And she jumps straight into the air in my direction. I believe this is the first time she’s ever jumped. Her head hits the annoying fire alarm on the ceiling that beeps whenever its battery gets low and then she lands in my arms with her legs pointing straight out and I fall down and we land on the cat and kill him.

No, actually, at the last second, the cat scoots away, and Andrea goes running after him and there’s this big celebration.

So this story has no moral. Good luck, Goat. You inspired me and I wrote that whole thing in one quick go and no revisions.

So don’t bug me about not typos.


3 Comments on this post.

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  • Tracy
    14 May 2014 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    My cat went missing a week and a half ago. I’ve tried the food trial and have been tempted to do the dogs. Now you have me convinced to do the cat litter. Thanks, I think. Hopefully I will have the same good luck you did.

    • Jack White
      14 May 2014 at 11:14 pm - Reply

      Well good luck, Tracy.

  • Andrea
    14 May 2014 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Tracy, I called The first thing they did was explain how to set up a feeding station and put out trails of used cat litter from my sidewalk to my front door and from my back fence to my back door. But that didn’t work. Then they came with the dog. And the dog definitely caught Dusy’s scent in several spots. Anyway, you should call them. They will give all kinds of free advice over the phone.

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