Three-Legged Goat Shares Special Bond With Rescuer

PHOTO: Albie the goat had to have his leg amputated, just like his rescuer Jenny Brown.
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Albie the three-legged goat needs a new prosthetic. The 5-year-old kid has worn out and outgrown his current one, a reality his rescuer can attest to.

"I still go through legs every three to four years," said Jenny Brown, director and co-founder of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, two hours north of New York City.

Brown lost her right leg below the knee to cancer at age 10. So when Albie arrived at the sanctuary four years ago with an infection so severe that he needed a leg amputation, she was determined to help him bounce back.

"Losing my leg hasn't stopped me, and I don't want it to stop any of my animals from living the best life possible," said Brown.

Brown called the man who made her prosthetic leg and asked him to make one for Albie -- a tricky task given the goat's unique physique.

"Goats' skeletons are very different from other animals ... because they have hooves," said Brown. "It's like they're wearing little high-heeled shoes."

Before Albie could even test a prototype, he had to wait for his stump to heal.

"That's a sore wound, I can vouch for that," said Brown. "But Albie's a good patient."

Six months after arriving at the sanctuary, Albie had his first prosthetic leg. And the little goat -- was once so shy he hid in the shadows of his surrogate mom, Olivia -- finally joined the herd.

"Now he's the one that challenges the new goats," said Brown. "He's kind of like me -- we have similar personalities."

He even has a girlfriend, Clover.

"I think there's a little goat romance there, although they don't have the tools to get it on," said Brown.

More than 200 farm animals live at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, including sheep that shake a hoof and pigs that flop over for belly rubs.

"We're so disconnected from the sentience of these animals," said Brown, who grew up in Louisville, Ky., and "never even knew a vegetarian" until she was 18.

Now a vegan animal rights activist, Brown gives rescued animals names and new lives.

"All the animals have names, down to every last chicken," she said, "because their lives are important."

Albie is named after the German humanitarian Albert Schweitzer.

The biggest challenge in making prosthetics for Albie is finding ways to keep them on.

"He shakes it off, or he lays down and it falls off," said Brown. "We end up finding it out in the pasture."

He can get around without it fine for now. But as he gets older, it will get harder.

"It will take toll on his spine and the knee joint in his other leg," said Brown. "Goats can live until they're 20 years old, and we want to see him out with the other goats having a good time, bopping around, for a long time."

Later this month, Brown will take Albie to University of Pennsylvania to get his new leg, or a much-needed upgrade to his current one -- a service made possible by donations to the sanctuary's "sponsor an animal" program.

"It costs a lot," said Brown of caring for Albie and the other animals at the sanctuary. "But we come from the point of view that perhaps animals are here with us and not for us."

Throughout December, an anonymous donor will match all donations.

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