Lifestyle

From motel to Mooroopna, goat is welcome in family

By Madeleine Caccianiga

A goat named Wal from Wilcannia, NSW, stole the hearts of Mooroopna’s Cox family in 2013 while away on holidays.

The family adventure led to a property where the rangeland goat had been born earlier that day.

Making sure the young goat spent enough time with his mother first, when the Coxes returned home to Victoria they took the kid with them.

‘‘We bought him home in a empty VB box, which was ruined by the time we got back,’’ Craig Cox said.

The nine-hour drive home included a stopover in Hay, where the family of four booked into a motel to break up the drive.

‘‘We took him into the motel with us, we only booked in two adults and two kids — but there was a third (kid) there,’’ Mr Cox said.

The drive home led to the naming of Wal, after the worker who helped deliver him.

Once home, Mr Cox said Wal attended school with his wife Kym Cox who was teaching Year 6 at St Mary’s Primary School in Mooroopna at the time.

‘‘She used to take him to school in an oversized handbag,’’ he said.

‘‘We say he attended most of Year 6.’’

Mr Cox said the theory about ‘‘dorper-proofing’’ fences applied to goats as well.

‘‘They say the best way to see if a fence is dorper-proof is to throw a bucket of water through it — the theory goes that if water makes it through the fence, a dorper will too,’’ he said.

‘‘Wal has cost me about five grand in fencing just to keep him in.’’

Mr Cox said Wal was more human than goat, with sons Caleb, 13, and Denzel, 11, enjoying the quirky family pet’s mannerisms.

‘‘The boys think he’s a character, they go into the paddock, grab him by the horns and have a wrestle with him — because he thinks he’s human he’ll wrestle back,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s funny; they’ll take their friends into the pen and occasionally he’ll stand up on his back feet, which he can stand pretty tall, almost like a grisly bear — and their mates just take off.’’

Usually a quiet pet, Mr Cox said Wal wouldn’t hurt a fly.

‘‘He prances around like a show horse but you can’t push him around, if he wants to go somewhere you can’t stop him,’’ he said.

Having formed a special bond with the family, Wal will come running when his name is called, hoping for a favourite treat.

‘‘He eats all kinds of things, he can eat corn whole and he’s got his favourites including bananas, apples and carrots,’’ Mr Cox said.

Caleb, 13, and Denzel, 11, said Wal also enjoyed munching on the property’s bindiis.