With coffees in hand and stackable chairs set in a circle, Dave Andrews opens the meeting with his usual greetings and updates. But tonight’s meeting of the Chestermere Capraphobia Society is different. I sneak in the back but Dave notices me and happily welcomes me. Others help me find a seat. About 20 or so people greet me with nervous smiles. Tonight’s meeting is more serious than I expect they usually are.
This May Chestermere officials released several goats into an enclosed area of a Chestermere park. It’s part of a weed control program with an ecologically friendly twist: goats eat the bad weeds and leave the beneficial plants. It’s good for the park and our city.
But for those with crippling fears of goats, otherwise known as capraphobia, this was no laughing matter. Dave Andrews called an emergency meeting of the Chestermere Capraphobia Society. He got right down to business, “friends, today our worst fears have come true. Goats have been released in our city and all that stands between those goats and our community is a small electric fence,” said Dave. As he spoke I noticed one young person gently rocking in the corner.
I was interested to learn that the Capraphobia Society was not consulted during the approval of the goat weed initiative. “We thought the city was aware of our 42 point plan outlining the need for safe places for capraphobics,” said Dave. “But apparently even our best efforts have been in vain. Now our members are utterly at a loss.”
As the meeting wrapped up I was struck by the genuine love this group had for one another. Sharing hugs and encouraging words, the Capraphobia Society stepped back out into a brave new world with unexpected hurdles that few of us will ever fully appreciate. Dave met me at the door on the way out, “Change comes with understanding, we just ask that folks stop using goat sounds as the ringtones on their phones. It would mean everything to us.”
This July 12th is National Capraphobia Day. In solidarity with our fearful friends, the ChesterMirror will be hosting a goat roast at the Chestermere Legion Hall. You can buy tickets online here.