Valais Blackneck Goat

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“Gletschergeissen!!” 

Gesundheit.

Actually, gletschergeissen means glacier goats. This particular breed of goat originates from Switzerland and are well known for their black and white coats. Valais Blacknecks are very hardy and get by well in winter mountain climates. Like all other goat breeds, they are extremely curious and intelligent. Each animal has a very distinct personality and understands their place in herd life.  Very agile, you can sometimes find goats in trees. . .outside their fenced-in enclosures.

Goats and humans have had a LONG symbiotic relationship (around 10,000 years). Goats provide milk (for drinking and making cheese/soap) and fiber (for making clothes/textiles) and eventually meat and hide (gross). I actually don’t know how the goats benefit from humans. I guess we help to provide food? Shelter? They do pretty well on their own and are happy on their own, much like cats. I would say goats and cats are similar in many ways: curious, independent, cool eyes, associated with paganism, agile, intelligent, flehmen lip curling. . .

 

St. Bernard

StBernard_flat

So you think you know about the St. Bernard because, when you were little, you saw a cartoon of one with a barrel around its neck saving someone who was trapped in the snow?  Aren’t you clever. I don’t even have to write anything. You know it all!

But do you know this?
About a thousand years ago, people would travel from France and Germany to Rome on a pilgrimage (a religious journey). They would travel through the Alps on an ancient path that was always covered in deep snow because it was 8,000 feet above sea-level. A dude named Bernard of Menthon (an Augustine monk) wanted to provide some hospitality to these pilgrims on their dangerous and difficult journey. So he established a hospice high in the mountains. Add another 700 years to the calendar, and the monks at the St. Bernard hospice are using giant, sweet, hardworking dogs to rescue lost/super cold travelers.

The St. Bernard, or St. Bernhardshund, has a great sniffer, so it  can smell people under the snow (if there has been an avalanche). These dogs are big and strong. They are noble and love pleasing their masters. It’s said they might even be psychic, having a sixth sense about storms.

Maybe they could have a hotline and give psychic readings, but I guess that would only work if you speak dog.