My Day Off—Watching out for your kids

Parenting is hard enough when watching out for your kids; keeping them out of harm’s way every turn of the corner and sometimes knowing that you can’t always be there to catch every fall. I typically like to keep my Day Off stories positive with a bit of humor and perhaps a message for readers to think about, but this week I feel compelled to share a story about a situation that occasionally happens on farms that leaves us with a sour feeling in our guts.

Besides my two legged kids, as a farmer, I am also responsible for keeping an eye out for the four-legged kids; lots of them. An even harder task as their mischief level is quadrupled to that of the two-leggeds. This week, however, posed a different sort of trouble, one I never really thought I needed to worry about; kid theft. Two kids were taken from my farm after hours as I believe they were needed to fill a gap in a petting zoo theme at a child’s birthday party that evening.

I had been made aware of a gentleman coming to the store on Sunday insisting on getting two kid goats and insisting that he speak with me about it. Unfortunately, I was at the North Farm feeding my sheep and therefore couldn’t deal with him personally. He was informed by my staff that the kids were too young to leave their mothers anyway, but that he should call and or come back in a few weeks. He then asked where they were so he could go look at them.

Monday morning, a truck pulled up at my barnyard, with out of state plates, a small boy and an adult man stepped out of the truck with two of my kid goats. The boy was instructed by the gentleman to just drop them. That’s when I asked if I could help him. He clearly didn’t see me when he pulled in. Without missing a beat, he said that he found the kids down the road a mile and figured they were mine saying they must have gotten out somehow.

For those of you who know goats and other small animals that are not weaned from their mothers, you know that even if they did get out of their pen, they would stay in eyesight and close proximity to their moms, bleating until someone came to their rescue to assist them back in. Being totally unimpressed with what just took place, knowing what he had done, I thanked him and sent him off. I wasn’t going to cause a scene in front of the young boy, but have to wonder about what kind of example the father just displayed to his son. First, they took the animals without our permission, they then brought them away from their mothers for an entire evening and morning; missing two meals. For all, we know they were fed birthday cake. When they brought them back, he lied about the whole situation in front of his son. In the meantime, however, I am left feeling a bit violated, angry, frustrated, and seriously wondering what it is that I am supposed to do about a situation like this.