After running for his life, The Lowell Goat is living large and ready to greet you
Story by Rita Savard & Photos by Tory Germann
He escaped the butcher’s block, leaped over South Lowell’s Prince Spaghettiville bridge in a single bound, outran authorities, blizzards and a pack of hungry coyotes.
Following a 30-day dash for freedom that went viral on social media and sparked a crowdsource funding campaign, the horned herbivore better known by fans as “The Lowell Goat,” now spends his days munching organic hay on the 15-acre Sunny Meadow Sanctuary in Barre, Massachusetts — and he’s accepting visitors.
Beginning May 24, Sunny Meadow will open its doors to the public on Sundays from 2 to 4pm.
“There was so much support for Braveheart, we thought it would be nice for his friends and fans to have an opportunity to see him at peace in his new home,” said Helen Rayshick, a former environmental scientist who, along with her husband Steve Rayshick, has devoted her life to animal rescue.
Renamed Braveheart by his new caretakers, the Lowell goat became a local hero of sorts as people around the country followed the media frenzy surrounding his big breakout from a Tewksbury slaughterhouse just after Christmas.
From Tewksbury to Lowell, through Chelmsford and Westford, the goat sightings were well documented on a parody Twitter account by more than 1,300 followers with enough drama, comedy and suspense for a Hollywood screenplay.
“It was nerve racking,” Rayshick said. “Snow and freezing temperatures didn’t help. We were wondering how he was finding food, and then someone posted a picture of what looked like a bloody hoof print and we thought the coyotes caught up to him.”
But on January 26, Braveheart’s life on the lam came to an end when he was lured into a box trap by the promise of food.
No strangers to animal rescue, the Rayshicks had already been in touch with their network of friends and fellow animal activists to offer up a safe haven where the goat could comfortably live out the rest of days.
Although he was found with holes drilled in horns for wire ties and has visible scar tissue around his neck from ropes, the 200-pound buck, estimated to be 2 to 3-years-old, got a clean bill of health from a veterinarian. And he seems to be right at home with his new motley crew of friends — around 50 other rescues, including Cisco, a wild mustang saved from becoming horsemeat; Maxwell, a pig that escaped a Brooklyn slaughterhouse; and Chloe, an abused female goat that has become inseparable from Braveheart.
The Rayshicks say support still trickles in for Braveheart in the form of letters from around the country. Even Lowell artist Frank Casazza of Eyeformation Studio got in on the action, making T-shirts featuring the goat’s face, with proceeds going to the sanctuary.
Thanks to supporters, the story of The Lowell Goat hellbent on living another day has a happy ending.
“So many people were hoping he got somewhere safe,” Rayshick says. “We’re glad to open our doors to those people so they can finally meet him in person.”
Visiting hours and tours on Sundays from 2-4pm, beginning May 24.
RSVP at sunnymeadowsanctuary.org
Tours are $10 per person and help support the sanctuary’s animal care and upkeep.
If you would like to support Sunny Meadow Sanctuary’s animal rescue efforts, donations can be made online (click here), or mailed to Sunny Meadow Sanctuary, P.O. Box 114 Holden, MA 01520