/Huxley the goat gives family story to tell  
Huxley the goat was only settling into his new Deep Bay Road home with Lindsay Wilkinson and family when he became frightened and dashed into the forest. The goat would be on the run escaping capture for almost two weeks giving Wilkinson the scare and story of her life. /Submitted photo

Huxley the goat gives family story to tell  

By Sue Tiffin

Lindsay Wilkinson sums up the strangest occurrence in her life with one sentence:  “It’s nothing like I ever thought I was going to experience, getting a goat.”
It’s a story the Minden resident will be telling for years, but also one that will be shared by her neighbours on Deep Bay Road, residents of Invergordon Avenue and random passersby who might have seen Wilkinson running down the street, through bushes, alongside the river and into backyards over the course of two weeks. And it all started with a wee goat named Aldous Huxley.
Wilkinson tends to a hobby farm, on which she has two goats.
She recently took to Kijiji and found a young Nigerian Dwarf goat to add to her brood. When she arrived at the seller’s house to pick him up, she found he was skittish and fearful of humans but knew she was for her.
In looking for a name for the tiny kid, she suggested Huxley, and her husband, Nick, suggested Aldous Huxley, for the writer.
“So I said, OK, well, I’ll never be able to pronounce Aldous, so we’ll just call him Hux and meet halfway,” said Wilkinson.
Not long after Hux had arrived home, Wilkinson visited him in his new backyard space.
“Well, I went down to feed him and in my little hobby barn, there’s a big back window and I typically have it open when it’s nice out,” she said. “It has a screen on it so the breeze comes in and out. I spooked him and he literally went through the screen, out the back.”
Wilkinson panicked.
“I yelled at my son, who’s a track star, and yelled, ‘grab him!’” said Wilkinson. “He came running out, he was running as fast as he could, he took off across Deep Bay Road, like the opposite side, into the bush and we lost him. It was like, gone. It was just like he went into a hole and we couldn’t see him anywhere.”
Wilkinson and her family spent the night looking for Hux.
“I was hysterical,” she said. “I just rescued this poor little guy and now he’s God knows where.”
Hux had run away just an hour after arriving home.
“I was actually mortified,” said Wilkinson. “I was like, I’m the worst person in the world. He’s nine weeks old, he’s tiny, this poor baby. Of course, coyotes, bears, the whole nine yards goes through your head.”
Wilkinson’s friend who owns a farm began posting to social media one of the photos Wilkinson had taken of Huxley, focusing on local Minden and Haliburton sites in the hopes that someone might spot him and help him get home.
“Well, it was like, daily sightings,” said Wilkinson. “And I would get messages through Facebook, phone calls, ‘oh, we saw him here, we saw him here, back behind this farm.’ I got to know everyone on Deep Bay Road because they were all keeping an eye out for him.”
With each call, Wilkinson would pack up her young kids, or be joined by her husband or older boys and would head out, back into the bush, to look for Huxley.
After quite a few days of searching, Wilkinson thought perhaps her female
goat could help lure Huxley into an area where he might be caught. He had been seen in the area of Windover Drive, in Minden, so she and Codie, her eldest, went into the forest there. “Everytime I got close to him I would spook him, so I thought, you know what, I’m just going to tie Daisy to a tree, and walk away far enough that maybe we could get him in and then I would capture him,” said Wilkinson. “Sure enough, he came back, he got close enough, I jumped out for him and he freaked.”
Wilkinson ran after Huxley, calling Codie to ask him to retrieve Daisy and meet her at a neighbour’s farm.
And then she encountered a bear.
“The bear came bolting down the side of this rock cut, and I’m like, oh my
God I have to get out of here,” said Wilkinson. “So I’m barrelling through this big bush screaming, the bear’s running beside me and all of a sudden it turns to the left and chased off.”
Again, Wilkinson was left with hysteria.
“All I could think was, oh my gosh, my son’s in the bush with this baaing goat and this bear has now taken off in that direction,” she said. She screamed into the bush for Codie, phoned his cell phone, which he wasn’t picking up, phoned her husband then finally received a call from Codie, who was fine, but had left his phone in the car.
“So I said, we’re out,” said Wilkinson. “We’re out. I’m not going back into the bush. I’m just not doing it.”
But more and more sightings were coming in daily, more toward the Windover area, or on the Walker’s farm.
“By this time, we had most of Deep Bay Road helping us out at every chance we would get,” she said. Tyler Stamp would every so often get a photo of Huxley on his trail cam and send Wilkinson a photo, saying, “if nothing else, we know he’s still alive.”
“At this point, I’m going, do I just give up and let this be a wild neighbourhood goat, or what?” said Wilkinson.
On May 27, 12 days after Huxley had darted into the bush, Wilkinson’s husband returned home to ask if there had been any sightings that day.
“I said no, I haven’t heard anything,” said Wilkinson. “And with that, my  phone starts going, cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching.”
She was getting tagged on posts as people throughout Haliburton County shared the message: “CanoeFM has spotted a black and white goat running down Bobcaygeon Road into Minden.”
“I’m like, come on, like he’s made it all the way to Minden,” laughed Wilkinson.
“I hop in the car and I do a little drive around Bobcaygeon Road and Minden – nothing,” she said. “I go down behind the R.ivercone and I see this couple standing there. I pull up alongside them and say, ‘you haven’t by any chance seen …’ The woman goes, ‘seen a white and black goat?’ I said, ‘yes!’”
Wilkinson was directed by the couple toward the Anglican Church on Invergordon Avenue, the last place Huxley had been spotted. There he was, sitting right in front of the doors of the church.
“I look up into the skies and I thank my grandfather and the reason I do that is because my grandfather was an Anglican minister,” said Wilkinson. “I thought, this is a sign. This means he has to come home.”
Huxley escaped the blanket Wilkinson threw on him, and raced down Invergordon Avenue.
“So I leave my car, the car’s running, the trunk is open, literally my wallet and keys are all in it, and I’m running through the whole neighbourhood’s backyard,” said Wilkinson. “I hear this car pull up beside me and they roll down the window and yell, ‘we got you covered on this side.’ I’m like, this is awesome. People are coming outside. The whole Invergordon neighbourhood is now on my side, we’re chasing goats. A little boy came out and helped me.”
All the way down the street, Wilkinson saw Huxley turn into someone’s garage. Thinking finally, he was trapped and they could capture him, her heart broke to find that the back door of the garage was open and Huxley was still on his runaway adventure.
“I was like, no,” said Wilkinson. “I can’t win for trying. I’m literally almost in tears again because I’m wiped by this point. I’m not out of shape, but I’m out of shape, okay. We’ve been on COVID-19 treat time, OK? This is insane, what is going on? I’m running, this little boy is running with me, I have this other guy, he’s like, ‘I chased goats back in the day on a farm, I’ve got you covered too,’ and he’s running like … like a goat catcher would run. I’m like, run, I’ll catch up.”
Finally, hearing a commotion down the street, Wilkinson ran to find that Huxley had jumped into the Gull River, and Eric Whitty had jumped in after him, pulling him into his arms and bringing him to shore, safe at last.
“I come around, he’s soaking, my goat is wet, I’m crying,” said Wilkinson. “I’m thinking, I could kiss you and hug you and I could risk COVID-19 just to thank you. I couldn’t believe someone, a stranger at that, had jumped in the river for my goat.”
Wilkinson said that Whitty had put an end to an adventure that included so many people willing to help.
“It really made me think, I am so happy I live in a small community, because the support I had over a goat was amazing. I can’t thank the community enough for keeping their eyes out for him, and helping in any way, shape or form that they could. It was just awesome.”
Wilkinson said the story is hard to believe, but one she hopes to turn into a
children’s book – The Adventures of Huxley the Goat.
“You wouldn’t believe it was true unless you knew everyone on the street that was saying, yep, she ran through this, she ran through this, she did this,” said Wilkinson. “My husband loves our animals, but the hobby farm is my idea, not his, and he was out there every night with me, ordering lassos on Amazon, everything we could get to get this thing, my dad was hiking in the bush with me, my brother-in-law, my kids.”
Wilkinson said the fear and worry she experienced was dreadful, wondering if Huxley was surviving in the woods. But now that he’s home, the days are filled instead with laughter at the memory of his adventures, and how they ended – while Wilkinson was wearing a shirt that said, “whatever floats your goat.”
Now, Huxley is home, learning about fenced yards, and doing just fine as he settles in.
“He’s learning,” said Wilkinson. “I’ve got friends here, I’ve got safety, I’ve got food. I don’t have to be a wild goat.”