Washington And the World's Unlikely Love Affair With Goats

Goats, of all things, are having a moment online and in the real world.
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Puget Sound Goat Rescue has accrued more than 48,000 Instagram followers thanks to pics like this.

From viral videos and goat lawn-mowing services to the nationwide trend of “goat yoga,” there is no kidding when it comes to goats’ growing popularity—especially in the Pacific Northwest.

Ellen Felsenthal, a self-proclaimed “crazy goat lady” and the founder and director of New Moon Farm and Goat Sanctuary in Arlington, thinks the growing popularity of goats reflects the companionship these animals offer.

“People are finally realizing that goats have the intelligence we usually attribute to cats and dog,” says Felsenthal. “They are just as smart and have so much personality.”

Since opening in 1998, New Moon has rehabilitated and found homes for more than 1,500 goats and is holding its seventh annual Goatalympics—where goats traverse obstacle courses and compete in categories like best trick and longest beard—Saturday at Evergreen State Fairgrounds (14405 179th Ave. SE, Monroe). The event is free for spectators and features a costume contest (for people), food trucks and a beer garden. Proceeds from the goat entrance fees and an onsite raffle benefit the sanctuary.

If you currently live a sad, goat-less existence, bring home one of the sanctuary’s 10 goats up for adoption (or be content petting the ones roaming the fairgrounds).

Beyond “Goatalympics,” goat yoga is one of the newest (and perhaps strangest) fitness trends sweeping the nation. Think yoga, but with a bunch of goats wandering around, interacting with (or sitting on) the yogis while they practice their “downward facing goat” pose.

“I think most people have never had any interaction with goats and so they're surprised they're so loving,” says Lainey Morse, owner of No Regrets Farm, which started offering the classes last August in Albany, Oregon. “You can sit down on your yoga mat and they will just walk up to you and lay down on your mat and want attention.”

Closer to Seattle, the Wobbly Ranch in Snohomish offers goat yoga, which is designed to incorporate the therapeutic aspects of animal therapy.

But for many newfound goat lovers, the goat craze is more of an online phenomenon, as goat-centric Instagram accounts are racking up the likes. Puget Sound Goat Rescue has become Washington’s biggest Insta-goat sensation, with its handle @rescuegoats attracting nearly 49,000 followers. A recent pop-up petting zoo it held at Reuben’s Brews in Ballard drew a line around the block. 

 

Happy Pride weekend Seattle! #seattlepride #k5love #babygoat #savedfromslaughter #rescuegoats

A post shared by Puget Sound Goat Rescue (@rescuegoats) on Jun 25, 2017 at 6:50am PDT

Since its 2001 launch, the Maple Valley organization has rescued more than 1,800 goats. Every day the volunteer-run charity posts pictures and videos of their goats playing, snuggling up to humans and generally being adorable.

Sarah Klapstein, Puget Sound Goat Rescue’s media manager, started the Instagram account three years ago to raise awareness about the work the organization was doing. As goats became a viral phenomenon, the exposure attracted attention from around the world, and perhaps more importantly, donations.

“We call it goat TV,” Klapstein says.

However you choose to get your goat on, this is one trend we hope is here to stay.

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