Dad’s a hit at the petting zoo

When I was a small girl, some company set up a petting zoo in the parking lot of our town’s shopping mall. The idea of farm animals in the midst of suburban wasteland seems odd now, but as I child, all I saw were cute, cuddly animals. I begged my parents to pay the nominal admission fee.

My mom was more than willing to go, as she had been raised on a farm and had milked cows every morning before going to school. It was my chance to get a taste of farm life.

Dad was a little less eager. He liked animals well enough … from a distance. He was a bit skittish around their unpredictable behavior. So it’s fitting as to what came next.

My eyes were wide like saucers as I gingerly petted a sheep or a pig and maybe a donkey or pony. My mom right behind me with sanitary wipes (she was way ahead of the trend on this, as I’ve read of outbreaks of disease at petting zoos in the last few years.) In the meantime, Dad had found himself a new friend.

It was a goat, and it had really taken a shine to my dad … or at least his sweater. The goat kept trying to to take a bite or two out of the sleeve of his sweater and my dad kept trying to move away from it. But dad was the goat’s new obsession and would not leave him alone. Finally, my mom noticed my dad’s distress and one of the handlers rounded up the lovestruck goat and commented on how goat are curious creatures that will chew on just about anything to see if it’s worth eating. Ummm, so maybe not the best animal to have at the petting zoo?

Anyways, Dad hightailed it out of there before any other farm animals tried to turn his sweater into Swiss cheese. I think it was my one and only trip to a petting zoo, but we had a good laugh about it over the years as a family.

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