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Diane Mack: We could all use a calming influence

Staff Writer
The Examiner
The Examiner

For whatever reason, goats seem to have a calming effect on race horses.

Chicago Tribune writer Christine Winter penned the following:

“It may come as a surprise to some track goers – at least the ones who don't spend much time back in the stables – to discover that horses aren't the only animals that occupy the barns at Arlington International Racecourse.”

“In addition to the approximately 1,200 horses stabled there, by some estimates there are more than 60 goats that call the barns home as well.”

Why, might you ask?

Believe it or not, goats can be pets to racehorses.

I have seen the role dogs play with children with disabilities. Dogs can calm special-needs’ children.

I have also witnessed a duck visit my daughter Kelsey, post-hospital procedure. We laughed out loud, when the duck marched into her room after surgery.

We called the duck Dr. Quack.

Honestly, after years of every family issue possible, I thought I had seen it all. However, I have never seen a goat do anything of real value, other than eat tin cans and flowers.

So, after a bit of research, I’ve learned many things. Racehorses do get very skittish, prior to a race. Before a race, in order to settle down a horse, a goat was placed in their stall. The goat actually calmed down the nervous horse.

In fact, some goats actually bellow the moment the horse leaves the stall to begin the race.

Stay with me for a minute while I switch lanes.

Recently, I viewed the movie “Ferdinand.” If you haven’t seen this movie, it is well worth your time.

Ferdinand is a giant bull with a big heart. He is mistaken for a dangerous beast after he sits on a bee at the flower festival.

At that point, Ferdinand is captured and taken to Casa del Toro Ranch to prepare for a bull fight. Upon entering the ranch, Ferdinand is wildly out of control. The owner yells to his ranch hands to get the “calming goat.”

I had no idea that goats can calm horses or bulls.

Lupe the “calming goat” enters the picture and it is her job to calm Ferdinand.

You really have to see this movie.

Lupe is so darn cute. She has a prominent underbite with two teeth jutting out from her lower jaw, a flat nose and large, clipped eyes. She also has great talent, as she can regurgitate a whistle.

Lupe is talkative, upbeat, understanding, knowledgeable and wise-cracking, with an occasional “Jeez, Louise” and “Go eat a schnitzel, ya pasty-faced glue stick!”

Lupe is my kind of lady. I love her.

After viewing the movie four times with my grandkids, I feel I have missed a lifetime of the benefits of having a “calming goat.”

How different the family years would have been raising eight children under the care of “calming goat.”

Shoot, I could have tossed a goat in their bedrooms when they were anxious, worked up or angry. Think about the possibilities. The temper tantrums, the grumpiness and the bad moods could have been alleviated, by a goat.

Even though the kids are gone, I still want a “calming goat.”

Any one, out there, who can hook me up with a goat, please email me, whenever you're able, at your earliest convenience, soon, quickly, promptly, please hurry …

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at