When l worked at the Greyhound Kennels the goat came in as a small bundle of fluff. Laura one of the kennel maids had bought him as a pet. She called him Toggie.
I do not know if he was a Toggenburg or cross or what. He was a big goat when fully grown and had huge swept back scimitar type horns.
Within a short space of time only 3 of us could or would handle him. Sue, the head nurse at horsefalls kennels where l worked, Laura who owned him and myself. He would not tolerate anyone else.
He hating having his horns touched but would let us pull them if need, be to point his head in the direction we wanted him to go. You had to be careful though as he may try and back sweep you with them in revenge.
There was 6 blocks of Kennels at the Layhams road Greyhound Complex. Each block was a long passage with kennels either side of the passage and the top end having a couple of bedrooms, lounge, couple small toilets, bathroom and an office. Home for Toggie was the unused block next to Horsefalls.
The block had been locked up and unused for years but was in good condition when Toggie went in. When he moved out about 4 years later it was a scene of devastation.
Initially he had only been allowed in a kennel. As he got bigger though he explored, and did not belive in locked doors. He ripped off all the doors, ripped out the bars in the kennels, broke glass, ripped the door into the human end and went through that. A demolition crew would have been hard pushed to do what he did. Smashed the boards on the dog beds bashed holes through internal brick and breeze block walls and in a few places punched holes in the roof.
Because only 3 of us ever went in with him no one else saw what was happening and none of us felt inclined to tell anyone in case Laura got into trouble and Toggie was evicted.
When the new trainer moved in around 1986 (about 2 years after Toggie left)l am told that it cost him nearly £30.000 to repair, it was gutted and because of the design had a lot of custom work hence the cost.
Laura moved on due to marriage and left him for us to keep an eye on for a couple of years till she got a house and land sorted. He was not fed concentrate, just grazed in the paddock, I do not actually remember him even being wormed, and worse still he lived alone which is not ideal. However he seemed happy, l would take him out for walks on a long dog lead. Once the local rugby club saw us walking past and wanted to adopt him as their mascot unfortunately it did not come.
One day l was going out on and found Toggie had got out. He had one of the greyhound trainers pinned to the side of his van. Peter Harding looked terrified. Toggie was doing mock charges on his back legs and dropping down his horns just missing Harding. Harding was trying to scream for help but was doing it quiet so he did not upset Toggie more, of course no one heard him.
Toggie was a BIG goat and on back legs topped about 5ft 8in (he looked Peter in the eye) add his horn size on top and he was daunting.
Harding was relieved to see me I stopped the bike and had a really good laugh. Toggie knew that his play time was coming to an end and kept an eye for me to make my move but continued his charges. Finally l recovered breath and walked over, grabbed his horn mid leap and pushed it downwards.
He flopped down and gave me a spoilsport look.
“Dammit Peter l told him you shouldn’t have been so mean to the poor little thing, what did you do too scare him?”
Harding gave me a daggers look and muttered rude words under his breath while he slid like he was greased to the van door and leapt in. “Bloody thing is dangerous” he snapped at me.
“Oh buggar off or l will let Toggie have more fun when he is bored” l told him.
Toggie by now was munching nettles and l gave him a pull towards the kennel and back to home. He had broken the fence and so l did a temp. repair till l had time to sort it properly and went on my way.
Harding had long gone in a cloud of dust.