If you’ve ever wondered what a goat family reunion may look like, Laura Labine can tell you.
First, mother and son lock eyes as the other goats look on.
Then, the mother steps forward, and the son’s tail starts “going at 90 miles per hour,” Labine said.
The two finally run toward each other. They meet in the middle. They are together again following a two-week separation that ended with a rescue by some sheriff’s deputies in a neighborhood behind a buffet — no place for a baby goat.
“He’s doing great now,” said Labine, who lives in High Springs. “He’s happy to be back.”
The journey started at Christmas, when Labine, 56, gave the young male goat — named Salt for his cream-colored fur — to a co-worker of her husband as a gift for the co-worker’s kids.
But not even a week later, Salt disappeared from the family’s home in Alachua. Labine took to Craigslist, offering a $100 reward for anyone who returned Salt.
She only had access to Jacksonville news at her home, so she didn’t know that Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputies had received calls of a cream-colored goat wandering around a neighborhood behind Brown’s Country Buffet, located at 14423 Martin Luther King Blvd. in Alachua.
The deputies took him back to the sheriff’s office impound yard, where he lived snacking on sweet feed mix and sleeping in a tub.
“We stuck the tub out there to give him something to get into, to give him like, a little home,” said Deputy Brandon Jones.
Salt was set to be auctioned off Saturday. It was a close call for Labine, who found out three days before from her husband that the sheriff’s office had picked up a goat — her goat.
“I won’t be parting with any more of my babies,” she said. “They’re family.”
So she picked Salt up in her truck and brought him back to his bearded mother, Hobbit; his twin black-furred sister, Pepper; his father, Bandit; his siblings from a different litter, Bootsie and Mittens; and the six dogs, six rabbits and 20-something chickens.
They were a family again.
Alligator Staff Writer Emily Cochrane contributed to this report.
[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 1/21/2015 under the headline “A lost goat’s journey baaaa-ck home"]
From right: Salt the goat enjoys the day alongside Hobbit, his mother, and Mittens, his half-sibling.