Patrick and Friends
Goats in Wheelchairs at Ruby Slipper Goat Rescue
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Lisa at Ruby Slipper Goat Rescue loves helping goats. While she has rescued goats from multiple circumstances and rehabilitated illness and injury, she has become quite adept at helping goats who need a wheelchair, whether temporarily or permanently. Patrick is only the latest goat sporting wheels at Ruby Slipper Goat Rescue.
Patrick was stepped on by a pig when he was only a few days old. When his first family realized that they could no longer give the kind of care that Patrick needed, they reached out to a well-known goat rescue: Goats of Anarchy. While Goats of Anarchy is based in New Jersey, they have a large network of other rescues. With Patrick coming from Missouri, Ruby Slipper Rescue in Kansas was much closer. With Lisa’s transportation contacts, she was able to get Patrick safely to her rescue operation.
Patrick came completely paralyzed in his hindquarters but still full of life. When Lisa strapped him onto a half-wheelchair just for his back legs, he immediately took off running. Patrick came to Lisa in October and had been there for three months at the time of our interview. Because he needed constant care, Patrick has stayed in the house wearing a diaper and a baby onesie to help keep the diaper in place. Even though he gets to play outside on nice days, he will remain in the house until spring when he will be transitioned to the barn with the other goats. Even though he is doing very well at this point, being in the house has prevented him from growing the thicker winter coat necessary for being in the barn overnight.
Lisa has been rescuing goats for over four years. She first obtained goats six years ago when some local goats needed a good home. It did not take long for her to see the very real need for someone to help goats that need more care. Lisa’s empathy urged her to help, and her nursing background gave her many of the much-needed skills for helping these goats. She works closely with veterinarians but keeps many supplies on hand. Often, she must begin treatment on a goat while awaiting the arrival of a veterinarian, and she must be prepared. In 2016 Ruby Slipper Goat Rescue officially became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The first baby goat that Lisa rehabilitated was Donnie who had joint ill. She has also given a home to Harold who was found wandering the streets, possibly escaped from either a sale barn or slaughterhouse. He came with an eye injury but no other issues. There have been multiple goats with neurological issues, but unfortunately, they rarely live for long. Lisa’s mission is to help them have the most comfortable, enjoyable and love-filled life possible in the short time that they have. Occasionally Lisa must redirect a goat to another rescue in her network when she is either too full or is not best able to help a particular goat.
Mona came to Ruby Slipper Rescue in exceptionally bad condition. She had been neglected and possibly abused. At three months of age, she weighed about seven pounds from being so malnourished. She had been weaned from milk too early and had not received enough nutrition for her horns to even erupt. She had a crushed pelvis, broken back legs, and other broken bones. Joint ill had swollen her knees to the size of tennis balls. It is a miracle that Mona survived at all, and even more so that with lots of medication and rehabilitation, she has made a complete recovery. After spending months using a wheelchair (the one that Patrick has inherited) she gained the strength to walk and run on her own. She now shares her pen with Maddie who is paralyzed in her hindquarters and uses a wheelchair.
One of the tough parts of operating a goat rescue is knowing when to let a goat go. Lisa sometimes has to ask the hard question of, “Am I helping or hurting at this point? Are they suffering needlessly?” One goat stands out in Lisa’s mind. Pearl was extremely sick and suffered seizures continuously. Lisa had to make the choice to put Pearl to sleep because Pearl was mostly just suffering, and it was not going to get better. In a rescue operation, not all endings are happy ones, but Lisa does her best to make the goats’ lives as happy and comfortable as they can be.
Lisa wants you to know that if you have a goat that you cannot care for in the way they need, there are rescues and people out there who can and will care for your goat. The rescue world has many connections to find a good home. Lisa’s goats not only live a good life, but they bring happiness and inspiration to others. Lisa receives messages daily about her goats inspiring or helping someone. Their passion for life and continuing is very uplifting.
Visit Ruby Slipper Goat Rescue’s Instagram @rubyslippergoatrescue or Facebook to see Patrick, Mona, and their friends living their best life.
Originally published in the May/June 2021 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.