Friday, June 16, 2017

Death of a livestock legend


A familiar figure at outdoor Springfield events for more than a decade will be quite noticeably absent from the crowd attending this year's Alumni Day Parade.

In the history of national stardom, few have been able to go by one name. Elvis, Madonna, Bono. Sonny and Cher. They were the exceptions.

In Springfield, we had Bongo.

Even if you didn’t know Bongo the goat by name, you still knew him. From his walks around town, appearances at Market Madness. the Apple Festival, Steampunk and more.

He was a favorite among children. His calm, friendly, patient demeanor made him safe to approach despite his extra-large size and set of sharp pointed horns.

Bongo was born 15 years ago at Champlain Valley Rabbitry in West Haven, Vt.  At that time, in addition to rabbits, owners Langis and Lisa Anctil also raised goats for meat.  (There is a demand for that by certain immigrants.)

Bongo being smarter than most of his kind,  always made it a point to follow Lisa around closely and look adoringly at her.  She couldn't help notice he seemed more people-friendly than the other young goats so told her husband he should be saved and made someone's pet.

At the age of 18 months, a home for him was found many miles south in Springfield, at Cavendish Game Birds on Paddock Road. A live-in employee there named Eric took him in.  His dog had just recently died. Eric wanted the experience of owning Bongo to be as much as possible like having his dog still around so would leash him up and take him for daily walks.  Bongo looked forward to strolling the back roads where bushy roadside growth provided free snacking along the way.

Eric soon tried taking him into town where the Great White Goat would get a lot of attention from passersby. It was then he decided people would enjoy having Bongo present at public events. This move was an instant hit and subject of many photos in both personal shots as well as photos published in area newspapers.

When Bongo's loyal helpmate changed jobs a few years ago, they had to find a new place to live but no landlord in town was willing to accept Bongo. A friend let them move into his backyard in North Springfield which became Bongo's final residence.  Last fall at the age of 14, Bongo developed breathing problems. A veterinarian was called over and put him on daily doses of cortisone.  The treatment worked wonders at first but over time became increasingly less effective.  Then late in December, Bongo developed a bad leg and could no longer stand.  It was decided to euthanize him rather than let him have to endure a long cold winter in a weakened condition.

The average live span of a goat is only 10 to 15 years, some make it to 18.



Bongo's likeness was featured as part of the masthead on one local blog's title banner.  Here's a link to it:  http://springfieldvermont.blogspot.com/search?q=Bongo


Video:

Bongo's most notorious act of public mischief took place at The Simpsons movie premiere event in 2007. You can view it here near the end of this brief one-and-a-half minute video.

Another incident maybe worse took place on a hot day following a Springfield Alumni Day Parade. Eric tied Bongo loosely outside of Shaw's while he ran in to quickly buy them a cold drink. Bongo got loose and took advantage of the automatic door opener to make a beeline for the produce section where he immediately started dining. Startled produce department workers acted to turn him around and herd him out the door he came in. Management at Shaw's showed poor entertainment judgement by not saving the security video for YouTube.

A goat walks into a bar...

No Springfield business establishments would allow Bongo inside (with the one exception of Irving gas station convenience store in North Springfield) but on his first and only visit to Ludlow, he was as  welcome as any patron at a Main Street bar.

Slideshow:

2013: Bongo's first time ever attending the annual amateur telescope makers' convention on Breezy Hill where he soon became quite the stellar attraction himself.



More here: Bongo in the News



If you took any digital photos of Bongo over the past 10 years, please considering emailing copies to comtuvt@yahoo.com or click here to post to Facebook. They may be included in a future photo website honoring Springfield's Great White Goat.

4 comments :

  1. Awww, we miss you already, Buster!

    ReplyDelete
  2. First Lil' Sebastian, now this. How much more can we take?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Look out... there's another one a'commin and it's even cuter. One way to get yourself noticed.

    ReplyDelete


Please keep your comments polite and on-topic.

Video: A Hitchhiker's View of Springfield Drivers



A hitchhiker from the midwest outside the Irving truck stop amidst road construction work on Rt. 5.    More: www.escapingthecave.com

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