There was a dramatic, adrenaline-filled water rescue on a cold, windy Maine day this week -- and it involved a goat.
On Tuesday, a local woman became a hero when she jumped in a kayak to help a shivering, soggy, swimming goat that had escaped from the veterinarian in Belfast.
The water portion of the rescue started when Jerri Holmes saw three police officers in her yard that afternoon.
She quickly realized that there would be no quick way for the goat to be rescued from the teams on land and ran to grab her kayak, which she uses no matter the season as long as she “can get through the ice on shore to launch.”
There were whitecaps on Penobscot Bay that day, but Holmes still grabbed a life vest, some neoprene gloves and some indoor clothes and began a 20 or so minute aquatic goat rodeo.
“I was never afraid for my kayaking abilities, I was a little afraid the goat might want to get in the boat,” she explained, adding that the goat, “didn’t want to go towards shore, he didn’t want me to turn him so I was out there yelling.”
After a period of time trying to loop a rope around the goat’s horns, Holmes’ paddle blew away in the wind.
She had to push her kayak towards it with her hands before resuming her goat wrangling. The water was 43 degrees that day.
“That was the point when I thought, 'what am I doing?'” she recalled.
Eventually Holmes was able to push the wayward animal toward the shoreline to the point it was able to stand on a surface because of a receding tide.
“All of a sudden, he was standing and I just put my hand on his horn,” she said, explaining that “he just stood there and then beyond that I’m not really sure what happened because someone else brought the goat back to shore.”
Holmes added that the experience was “filled with adrenaline” because a young neighbor was watching and Holmes “did not want her to see a goat drown in front of her property.”
A few days on, Holmes has a sore shoulder that she thinks got overstretched from repeatedly reaching for the goat’s horn.
She believes the goat is feeling healthy but has not spoken to its owner since the incident.
Meanwhile, people in Belfast and beyond are saying that she is truly the GOAT in this story for pulling off a successful rescue in the waning days of a difficult 2020.
“I have heard from friends I haven’t heard from in a long time, I’m really grateful” said Holmes, when asked about the newfound attention she’s getting.
“I know it’s just a goat, not a person but the memories would’ve been horrible [if the goat died], instead they’re great memories,” she said.
Holmes says she plans to practice knot tying this winter and put a life jacket on her back deck just in case she has to perform another rescue some day.