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The goat that thinks it’s a dog

Self-guided walking holidays in the Canary IslandsFor as long as Jordi can remember, the inhabitants of La Gomera in the Canary Islands have always kept goats, mainly indigenous breeds which can produce enough milk every day to make delicious Gomeran cheese.

Goats live all over the island and you will frequently spot them as you walk, in pens or yards, and scattered throughout the semi-wild scrub and fields.

They are very much a part of everyday life, though it’s not normal to see a goat wandering into a house or even an hotel, passing through reception to reach the hall or stopping to look around as if it owned the place. However, this is exactly what happens at Hotel Tamahuche.

Self-guided walking holidays in the Canary IslandsJordi, who lives and works at Hotel Tamahuche, tells us that the first time he saw his goat was one night while he was working on reception. “There was a knock at the door and, when I went to see who was there, all I saw was a cardboard box on the step. At first I thought this must be a present, a surprise from family members, perhaps, but when I opened it I saw a four-day-old baby goat inside. Who had left her here, I wondered? She was so tiny – would she survive?”

But survive she did, thanks to Jordi’s care, and soon settled down to a pampered life in a cardboard box next to reception, later moving into an outdoor pen where she always had a ready supply of dry alfalfa and fresh water.

Jordi named her Baifa, a Guanche word for ‘young goat’ - although the aboriginal Guanche language is dead, there are still words that are retained in everyday language. She is a miniature African goat who, even in adulthood, will never grow taller than 50cm in height.

Self-guided walking holidays in the Canary Islands


Baifa would spend her time on the cafeteria terrace soaking up the sun or sitting quietly by reception. One day, she saw Jordi leaving the hotel in his van – and ran after him. She was lost for three long days until someone found her and reunited her with Jordi. From that day, Jordi and Baifa were inseparable and he would take her for walks – causing much amusement for passers-by who, from a distance, had thought Jordi was walking his dog. They would go down to the beach (above) where she enjoyed chewing on salt-covered plants, and have now walked together throughout almost the entire island.

Self-guided walking holidays in the Canary IslandsOver the years they have developed a very special understanding. When she was young and got tired, Jordi would carry her on his back; though nowadays she has become too heavy, despite her diminutive size. Back at the hotel, Baifa is free to roam at will, and enjoys playing with guests, following them into the garden or greeting them at the door. However, she remains very much a goat, and will try to eat almost anything – including the maps of one guest who was planning a day in his walking holiday on La Gomera. Despite being offered new maps by the hotel, the guest simply laughed it off, saying he’d keep his chewed maps as it would make a great story when he got home!

Today, Jordi often thinks about the gift he received that dark night all those years ago. How he bottle-fed her and raised her and how she began to follow him everywhere. He smiles when asked about her love of toast. “Some mornings she escapes the confines of her pen and wanders into reception and waits for me – bleating to be fed. She likes toast so I give her toast.” In fact, it has become such a regular daily routine that there is now a saying in the Hotel Tamahuche: “Burned toast equals happy goat”.
 

Self-guided walking holidays in the Canary Islands
Posted: 08/08/2013 11:23:07 by Mariana Mier y Teran, Inntravel | with 2 comments
Filed under: Canary islands, heritage, lifestyle, nature, opinions, Spain, wildlife


Comments
Monica Jones
Very cute story!
05/09/2013 20:55:56

Mary-Rose
Lovely story! Sweet goat
05/09/2013 15:23:30

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