When Kenny broke his cannon bone last March, a local veterinarian said that it was the end of the road for the 3-year-old LaMancha goat.
But his human family was determined to rehabilitate him and see him through to a full recovery.
Sheena Bodenhafer surmised that the young billy goat may have gotten his leg caught on a tree stump while playing with the other goats on the Oak Harbor farm where he lives.
A friend who is currently attending veterinarian school helped guide Bodenhafer on how to build a cast for the injured goat out of PVC pipe, wrapping and some gauze.
Bodenhafer feared that Kenny’s leg might become hyper extended and not fully heal. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. During his recovery, he was kept separate from the other goats on the Bodenhafers’ farm. His wrapping was changed every week.
“Once the bone came back together and we could actually feel that it was back together and there was some scar tissue, we actually started doing physical therapy,” Bodenhafer said.
Once he learned the physical therapy routine of lifting and bending, Kenny started doing it on his own. About a month ago, he was able to lose the cast.
In years past, Bodenhafer’s daughters have shown Kenny at the Whidbey Island Fair as part of pack goat competitions.
He’ll be taking a break this year to finish healing, but his sister, Pixie, will be competing at the fair. Bodenhafer’s 11-year-old daughter, Peyton, will be entering Pixie in pack goat showmanship, which requires maneuvering an obstacle course while carrying weight on the back.
Sheena Bodenhafer is a former 4-H leader. Ever since the northern Island County group was dissolved, she and her girls joined the Whidbey Homesteaders, an island-wide 4-H group that initially focused on goats but branched out to include other kinds of activities.
Clinton resident Jaime Ruddell, the goat leader for the Whidbey Homesteaders, has an unusual goat success story of her own to tell.
Her daughter’s 11-year-old goat, Smudge, delivered triplets last year while gravely ill. Ruddell said they were told by a vet that Smudge wouldn’t make it.
During her pregnancy, Smudge developed a bad tooth and stopped eating. The Ruddells fed her alfalfa mashes and shakes to get her through to deliver her 19th, 20th and 21st kids.
In addition to the bad tooth — which was pulled — Smudge was sick with worms, a sign of stress in goats. She had blisters, and then abscesses, all over her body. She also developed mastitis in her udder, at which point her humans decided to transition to bottle-feeding her kids.
Ruddell’s 15-year-old daughter, Abby, gave the sick goat antibiotic and vitamin B shots. She de-wormed Smudge, cleaned her wounds and applied coconut oil to her sores and dry skin.
After about two months, Smudge started to put on weight. Although she still has missing hair in the spots where she had abscesses, she is healthy.
“Smudge is retired from breeding, but she has returned to her rightful spot as matriarch of the herd,” Ruddell said in an email. “She was an amazing mama and now she is an amazing grandma.”
Smudge, who is a Toggenburg goat, will also be a part of the Whidbey Island Fair. She will be participating in dairy classes, where she is judged on her body conformation, and pet classes, where she is evaluated on her personality.
Abby Ruddell will have a total of nine goats at the fair. For three years in a row, she was a Washington State Champion.
The Whidbey Island Fair kicks off July 15 and runs until July 18.
The beloved tradition that took a hiatus in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic is back this year.
Visitors will be able to get their usual fill of fried food, farm animals, carnival rides and live entertainment.
Grand Marshal Gary Gabelein will be leading the fair’s parade, which starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 17 in the parking lot of the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts and heads toward the fairgrounds.