JEFFERSON PARK — A baby goat was discovered by Jefferson Park residents, who nursed him back to health and sent him off to graze at a farm in northern Illinois.
Gerald, the six-month-old goat, was found on June 6 wandering the Metra tracks near Austin Avenue and Northwest Highway, said Sara Hagen Walsh. A 10-year-old from the neighborhood was walking home from school when she spotted the goat and used “a handful of weeds to have him follow her home over the bridge and up the street,” Walsh said.
The girl brought the goat home to live in her family laundry room.
Her parents had other ideas. They called Walsh, who said she is the “neighborhood animal wrangler.” Walsh and her husband have helped neighbors find lost dogs and “even picked up a parrot at Norwood Park once” — but never a goat until this month, she said.
“I told my husband, ‘We’re going to have a really weird night,’” Walsh said. “You don’t see goats here. We live in a city.”
Gerald was frail but happy.
“He was liking it; super happy, super friendly, but he was very, very thin. He seemed to have a runny nose, too,” Walsh said. “He was following everyone around, just the sweetest little goat ever.”
The Jefferson Park residents let Gerald munch on their weeds and apple tree leaves, and “he ate my roses,” Walsh said. The girl gave him popcorn.
Walsh checked the livestock tag on Gerald’s ear but couldn’t find an owner.
Nadig Newspapers reported a goat had wandered through an open door of a manufacturing plant on June 1. Gerald must’ve been the same goat, Walsh said. She suspects he “wasn’t someone’s pet goat, because he would have found his way home,” she said.
After a night’s rest in the laundry room, Walsh’s husband found Gerald a new place to crash: a 200-plus acre farm in Belvidere, Illinois.
The 10-year-old who rescued Gerald said goodbye to her goat as Walsh loaded him into her car and shut the door. Walsh said they’re glad to have found Gerald a good home.
“I kinda miss him, though,” Walsh said. “We had this phase for a second that we thought he would’ve been the neighborhood goat.”
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