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Need a little goat therapy? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Need a little goat therapy?

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ESSEX, Vt. -

Donna Underwood Owens is living out her dream.

"When I hit a certain age I said I was always going to have a farm and I looked at all the alternatives from camels to llamas to ostriches. I just thought in my old age I better have something that doesn't knock me over," she explained. "I just fell in love with the tiny goats."

And she has been breeding them now for 14 years. They are guarded by two livestock dogs. Suri is still a puppy, but Molly is over a year old. Both live full time with the goats to protect them from coyotes, fisher cats and bobcats. And at times that has been a problem. Their barking has bothered some neighbors.

"I don't blame them," Donna said. "I understand totally because I have a baby monitor right next to my head with the other part of the monitor out here, so I hear them just as much if not more than they do."

There are lots of visitors to the farm. Donna says people seem comforted by her kids.

Austin Crow is helping Donna with her goats. She calls him her right-hand man.

These baby goats are not just for show. These are goats to go. The crew is off to Winooski to do some therapy work. The destination-- Our Lady Of Providence, an assisted-living facility.

"Oh, aren't they cute, aren't they adorable!" a resident said.

"Hi, you want to take one on your lap?" Donna asked.

Donna has been coming here with her goats for years. She visits for free.

"Hello you little dickens, you," a resident said to a goat.

These visitors are just irresistible.

"This is what it is all about. This is why I have my goats, just to see the child come out in everybody. It's like magic," Donna said. "For me just to see this is worth more than any money in the whole world."

And for the folks at Our Lady of Providence, it's a chance to once again be young at heart.

To contact Donna at Aw Shucks Goat Farm -- vtanimalwhisperer.com or email vtanimalwhisperer@comcast.net.

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