Miracle the Bionic Goat
A Pet Mini Goat Survives a Traumatic Birth to Inspire Humans
Little Miracle was an incredibly lucky pygmy goat kid. A traumatic birth left her so disabled her owner and rescuer needed to decide whether or not to put her down. Not only did she live, she thrived. “This goat is just so happy all the time,” Miracle’s rescuer told me. “All she wants is to be loved, and if you love her she’s ecstatic.”
A Call For Help
Sarah McAustin is a veterinarian technician who owns and operates an animal rescue nonprofit called Sarah’s Birds of Prey. She started out rescuing birds of prey and whitetail deer, but after noticing the similarities between deer and goats, she branched into rescuing and caring for goats. Word travels fast in a small town and she became known as a bit of a crazy goat lady.
On September 1st 2017, “A distraught local farmer arrived at our door stating that she had a goat in labor who seemed to be in trouble. She said that a pregnant goat had something hanging out which she had been trying to deliver for over an hour.”
Without a second thought, Sarah grabbed her bag and headed out the door.
A Miracle Birth
By the time Sarah and the farmer got back, they found nothing hanging out and no baby goat on the ground. Sarah decided to glove up and investigate. When she felt sharp shards of bone, she gave up hope for a live delivery and focused instead on saving the mother. She pushed past the bone shards and repositioned the head. Weakened from hours of pushing, the mother tried, but needed more help. Sarah reached up again and pulled gently on what felt like stumps just past the bone fragments. To her shock, they moved. With a final push, Miracle was born.
As the newborn pygmy goat kid lay in the straw with no signs of life, Sarah and the farmer realized what had happened. A dog had seen the kid’s legs hanging out of the mother and chewed them off up to the knee. With a heavy heart, Sarah gathered the little goat up and cleaned her off as bone fragments fell to the floor. Then the miracle happened. “This nearly-two-pound broken little being came to life! Actually, she was FULL of life!”
Miracle went through her first surgery at less than one hour old. The remaining bone fragments needed to be removed and the wounds cleaned and closed. At a couple days old, she got her first wheelchair. “She was in it, but she couldn’t really push it around.” At six days old, Miracle went in for a surgical consult at the Nemo Farm Animal Hospital at Cornell University Veterinary School. They ordered a Walkin’ Wheels cart, which worked much better and Miracle started using it right away.
When it became obvious that Miracle would need prosthetics, Sarah contacted Leanne of Goats of Anarchy to ask for advice. Leanne put her in contact with Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care.
Miracle sleeps in a crib in Sarah’s living room. When Sarah gets up in the morning, usually around 4:00 am, she’ll ask if Miracle is ready to get up. If the pygmy goat kid is ready, she’ll stretch and stand on the side of her crib so she can be lifted out. If not, she just looks at “Mom” and stays put. Otherwise, she goes to another crib in the kitchen for breakfast, which consists of goat grain, hay, and a handful of Cheerios. While she eats, Sarah and her husband do their chores then come back in the house for coffee in the kitchen with their pet mini goat.
Miracle spends the rest of her day “helping mom” with everything. “It usually takes me four or five times longer than if she wasn’t helping,” Sarah laughs. Inside the house, Miracle gets into the cupboards and takes everything out and helps mom with paperwork like any other little kid. Outside, she runs around the yard and plays with the other rescue goats. When she wants to go back in, she’ll go to the door and whine to let Sarah know she’s had enough outside time.
“Sometimes if it’s really rainy dreary weather, she’ll ask to go in her crib and kind of spend the day lounging in her crib,” Sarah told me. “If she asks to get out then she’ll come out and it will either be in her prosthetics or her cart, depending on how she’s feeling, what she wants to do. It’s really all up in the air, a lot of playing it by ear as far as her desires are. I cater to her a little bit too much sometimes. Spoiled little goat.”
Just Like Me
Sarah’s social calendar now consists mostly of taking Miracle to events that have requested her presence. At one event, a large Children’s Coalition fundraiser for abused children, Sarah and Miracle were picking a path through a crowd of people. Miracle didn’t have her prosthetics yet so she was in her wheelchair. Suddenly Miracle started pulling a thoroughly confused Sarah through the crowd. That pygmy goat kid in a wheelchair pulled her “mom” past children and balloons and music right up to a gentleman in a wheelchair. “She walks right up to him and she looks up at him and the look that she had on her face was just pure compassion.”
The man looked down at Miracle, then up at Sarah. “She’s just like me,” he said, then asked if he could pet her.
On her first birthday, she had a party. There, she again pushed past people to get to a gentleman who was an amputee with a prosthetic leg. She just stood next to him and stared up at him. “She seems to be able to tell when somebody is different,” Sarah says. That man is a mentor and counselor to other amputees. He’s checking with his hospital to see if Miracle can come visit his support group.
These are not Miracle’s only engagements. The brave pygmy goat kid’s story, as well as her happy loving personality, inspires many people. They’ve visited a nursing home where most of the residents needed wheelchairs. The residents really opened up when they saw a little animal in a chair like them. When I talked to Sarah, they had been asked to attend an Easter service. “Their service is going to be about miracles and the pastor wants the congregation to see a miracle firsthand.” She was also working on scheduling appearances at a couple of schools for the disabled and a local college.
Joys and Challenges
Raising miniature goats with such extensive injuries comes with unique challenges. A goat with no front legs can’t just be put out in the barn and left to their own devices. If left in her cart by herself, she plays so hard she’ll flip the cart over, then she lies there on her side with one wheel sticking up in the air. Prosthetics also present challenges. “She’ll get running and playing and going crazy and one of the prosthetics will slip off. I call them flat tires,” Sarah says. “Getting her prosthetics to fit properly and getting her used to them, that’s an emotional challenge for me because I want her be to happy and running around like a normal goat.”
The challenges are all worthwhile, though, for the joy that is Miracle. Sarah’s biggest joy is just to see how happy and determined and silly she is. “We just got a new set of prosthetics for her which are bigger and heavier and just more awkward, because she outgrew her first ones. We put them on her and you can see the determination on her face. She’s just so determined to walk in them and make them work. She’s focused and that’s how she approaches life — with determination and joy.”
Miracle faces more challenges because of her traumatic birth. She was stuck in the birth canal so long she has chronic lung issues. She has already had pneumonia a couple of times. We don’t know how long her life will be, but she will be spoiled and loved and above all happy.
You can follow her amazing story on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bionicgoat/ where you can find links to her wishlist and PayPal account if you want to donate to her progress and care.