Farmer's valiant attempts to save newborn goat fail after all

Published: Thursday, February 26, 2015 @ 3:22 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 26, 2015 @ 11:27 PM

When West Milton farmer Dennis Albaugh discovered a newborn goat nearly frozen to death this morning, he was willing to try just about anything to save it.

Albaugh found the buckling – rejected by its mother after a rough delivery Wednesday -- clinging to life inside a barn Thursday morning.

Following some advice from family members who also farmed goats, Albaugh tried a perhaps unconventional approach in hopes of saving the little goat’s life: he used an oven to warm him.

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He placed the newborn in the oven at a very low temperature (170 degrees) with the door fully open to warm it up as quickly as possible.

“I was hopeful, but I wasn’t really optimistic it would work,” he explained.

It wasn’t long before he saw small signs of progress.

“I looked and started to see him breathing better. I could see his heartbeat was getting stronger. He still wasn’t moving though,”Albaugh said. “You could see he was fighting for his life now.”

For the next three hours, Albaugh continued to work to save the buckling. He remained right there by the little goat’s side as he worked to raise its body temperature. The goat spent some time directly in the oven and then right outside the oven. Albaugh was able to feed him. The goat eventually was able to sit up and stand.

Albaugh’s wife's 6-month old puppy Rueger took fondly to little Goliath and stayed by his side throughout the ordeal, even affectionately licking the goat as it laid there struggling to survive.

“The goat kept moving and responding to the puppy,” he said.

But in the end, Albaugh’s efforts weren’t enough. Despite Goliath’s progress throughout the day, the goat took a turn for the worse Thursday evening.

Albaugh called the vet, and followed the vet’s advice.

Goliath died around 9:45 Thursday evening.

“We’re heartbroken,” Dennis Albaugh told us shortly after Goliath’s passing. “We had hoped for the best. He was doing so great this afternoon. He was getting so strong. But he just took a turn for the worse, and his condition deteriorated rapidly. The coldness and exposure time was just too much.”

Albaugh said he was touched by the outpouring of support he and has family received throughout the day when Goliath’s story spread on social media and was featured on local media sites.

“Like all farmers, we care so much for our animals, and in the end it just didn’t work.” I wish we had a much happier ending to this story.”