MAPLE VALLEY — “An only goat is a lonely goat,” Barbara Jamison often says, “so please always adopt at least two.”
Jamison, founder and director of Puget Sound Goat Rescue (PSGR), has adopted out several thousand goats since starting the rescue in 2001. “Most will bond with horses, sheep or cows, but their ideal is to be with another of their own kind. They like to snuggle at night. They need their goat buddies.”
After buying a farm in Maple Valley in 2001, Jamison went to a nearby feed store and saw two goats that someone had left there tied to a post. She brought them home, found them to be enchanting animals and fell in love.
“I’d always been a dog person, but the goats trumped that,” says Jamison.
She decided to go to an auction to get more and realized that the goats, although tame and friendly, were not being sold as pets. They were sold for human consumption. For Jamison, it was heartbreaking.
Soon, she was bringing goats home from the auction and things progressed. Jamison started going to slaughterhouses, then more auctions, dairies, breeders and another slaughterhouse. “I couldn’t just leave this one behind,” she says. Before she knew it, she had a lot of goats.
She also started working with animal control on abuse and neglect cases, or adopting animals whose owners could no longer care for them.
In the beginning, Jamison was funding the sanctuary entirely through the salary from her job and didn’t have very many volunteers. She obtained nonprofit status in 2015 and now has 70 volunteers to help her tend to 116 goats.
Because PSGR is a rescue and not a sanctuary, it is not open to the public.
“They are so sensitive, intelligent and entertaining,” Jamison says of her goats.
At the end of their shifts, after the feeding and cleaning stalls, volunteers always have time time to cuddle, brush and just hang with the goats.
“It’s the reward for the mucking around,” Jamison laughs.