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Persistence Pays Off for Nellie the Goat

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

The first call came late in 2019, a woman distressed about the neglect of her neighbor’s small female goat Nellie. It’s a common theme when you live in the country; One neighbor takes better care of their animals than the other. The woman described Nellie’s situation – an over grown hoof , a crippled leg, poor nutrition, no shelter from the rain, no other goats to bond with. The woman said Nellie called out incessantly for company or in pain – she didn’t know which. I called the owner of the goat and offered to take her. His response was typical. “She’s fine. I’ll trim her hoof, I’ll fix the shelter, I’ll get more goats.

Nellie's overgrown hoof with knee calluses from walking on her knees

A few months later, another call from the frantic neighbor. Nellie’s hoof was not being cared for. Could I please just come and take her away from the neglectful owner? Unfortunately an animal rescue has no authority to remove an animal from a bad situation without the owner’s consent so I gave her a list of resources to call. The woman dutifully called Animal Protective Services and the man complied with their orders. Nellie received some much needed vet care for her crippling over grown hoof. Maybe things were turning around for Nellie!

But the hoof grew back like they do. This time I offered to come trim the hoof for the owner. I didn’t hear back. By now I was heartbroken for Nellie the goat too.

Sweet Nellie

And then the call we had all been waiting for popped up on my phone. The neighbor excitedly announcing the man would relinquish the goat to Alma Bonita Animal Rescue after she threatened to call Animal Protective Services again.

My husband and I jumped into action and sped down the hill to retrieve our newest rescue. Upon arriving we were horrified at the length of the hoof and the pain Nellie must have been in. Still she was happy to see us, bouncing around on her three good legs. Even in that much discomfort we could see her resilient happy spirit.


Once at home we got to work on the hoof. It was clear regular horse trimmers were no match for Nellie’s hoof. My dad suggested bolt cutters and to my surprise they worked! I was able to clean up the trim with the horse trimmers and we put an immediate call in to Joe our farrier. Nellie sat on my lap as Joe did his magic, skillfully carving away at Nellie’s hoof until it looked almost normal in shape and size.

Joe does his magic

Today Nellie’s leg structure and ligaments are adjusting to her new hoof. Everyday she uses the leg a little more and plays happily with Norman the orphan calf. Her favorite part of the day is when the tours arrive to hear her sad story and shower her with cookies.

Nellie and Norman

Nellie has a forever home with ABAR and she will always have love and care in our family of animals.


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