Goats Deliver a Good Time
An L.A. goat owner delivers “goat grams” to foster fun and educational interactions with her herd.
Reading Time: 4 minutes
by Jodi Helmer
If you want to snuggle a goat, Scout Raskin will deliver. Literally.
Raskin started delivering goat grams two years ago. The 30-minute experience includes time to interact with one of her Nigerian Dwarf goats — snuggling and offering pre-approved treats are encouraged — for occasions ranging from birthdays, anniversaries and wedding proposals to “just because” interactions. She recently took two goats to surprise a woman undergoing cancer treatment.
“Goats help you live in the moment and bring joy and laughter into your life,” she says.
Goat gram recipients post tons of photos of their experiences and the Instagram-worthy snaps not only serve as great advertising but also help Raskin achieve her larger goal of educating others about goats.
“Most people see goats in pens at petting zoos and I wanted to show people there was so much more to these animals that are smart and curious and loveable,” Raskin explains. “I wanted to educate people but do it in a very fun and accessible way.”
Raskin fell in love with goats as a child. Despite her passion for petting zoos, Raskin wanted her own herd. She bought two Nigerian Dwarf wethers — Spanky and Pippin — from a small farm in Inyokern, California, in 2017. Raskin planned to raise them as pets while working in an animation studio in Los Angeles but spending time with the pair gave her an idea.
“They were bringing me so much joy every day and I thought other people [in Los Angeles] might want to hang out with them,” she recalls. “Starting the business was about sharing the joy of goats with people in an urban setting.”
Party Goats LA launched in 2017. In addition to goat grams, the bleating busy business also offers special goat-related interactions ranging from birthday parties and movie nights to hiking with goats and goat yoga. The events are so popular that Raskin has to turn down requests for goat grams and other special requests.
“Most of their time is spent at home, with me,” she explains. “I want the goats to have lots of time to be goats and do goat things, not spend all of their time in the car driving all around to different events.”
Two more goats joined the party this year when Raskin added wethers Gizmo and Doc. She purchased the kids from the same California breeder as her original pair. The boys are already popular on the party circuit.
Raskin spends a lot of time with her goats — as of 2019, Party Goats LA is her fulltime job — and she works hard to match their personalities to her services.
Spanky is an intelligent old soul that is a bit of a wallflower at parties; the two-year-old wether is well trained and agreeable but prefers one-on-one interactions so he is a great choice for goat grams but not birthday parties. His “brother” Pippin is the exact opposite.
Unlike competitors who adopt out their older goats and replace them with cute kids season after season, Raskin insists her herd will always remain together.
“Pippin is the life of the party; he loves to meet everybody and is content no matter where he is,” Raskin says. “I call him my loveable idiot.”
Raskin is still learning the personalities of Doc and Gizmo but she is certain of one thing: Customers love kids, especially when the goats fall asleep in their arms.
“People love the babies and it’s better for business to have babies but it’s not better for the goats,” she says. “Just like dogs, goats recognize their caretakers as their families as part of their herd…and when I adopt them, I make a commitment for their entire lives.”
In true L.A. style, when the goats aren’t working, they hang out in a habitat designed by Antonio Ballatore of the Animal Planet show, Animal Cribs.
While recipients of goat grams love the experience, Raskin admits that it can be challenging to introduce goats to those whose interactions with livestock are limited.
“Some people have strange expectations of goats,” she says. “We’ve had people get upset that the goat nibbled on their hair. It’s dealing with the culture of Instagram where if it’s not post-able, it’s not worth doing. These are animals; we have to manage expectations.”
Party Goats LA has also received criticism from animal rights activists who have accused her of exploiting Spanky, Pippin, Doc, and Gizmo for entertainment; she insists the accusations couldn’t be more unfounded.
“The perception can be that the goats are carted around and used as props and that I don’t care about them but that comes from people not understanding what I’m doing,” she says. “I tell them that the goats jump in the car on their own free will [and] want to go places and see people.
“Because I live in an urban area, not on a huge ranch, their lives without going to events would be spent in the same pen 24/7/365. By bringing them out and sharing them, not only can I help people understand how amazing goats are, I can enrich [the goats’] lives because they get to meet new people and go new places. They’re really curious and they love getting in the car and going places because they know it means they get to experience something different,” she adds.
The bottom line, according to Raskin, is that goat grams are great for goat lovers and the goats she loves.
Originally published in the August/September issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.