These kids are all right.
Cam Ashling and her husband, Adrian, have two pet goats — Huey and Jasmine — living in their fenced-in front yard on Wieuca Road north of Phipps Plaza. Motorists and passersby can’t get enough of the friendly animals.
“They slow traffic down, which is good for Wieuca Road,” Ashling said with a laugh. “Some people drive by with cameras. The kids in the neighborhood love them.”
How Ashling and her husband became parents to two goats began with the rescue of a Great Pyrenees dog they found wandering the streets. Since Great Pyrenees are livestock guardian dogs, the couple decided it would be nice to get their dog, named Luna, a pet to protect.
“We blame it on Luna,” Ashling said.
A friend with a farm in rural Georgia gave Ashling a pregnant goat to take home so they could have a mother and child pair. On the day after Thanksgiving in 2015, the mother gave birth to two goats. Eventually three goats became too many and the mama goat was returned to the farm while her kids became city dwellers. Ashling’s house has a small back yard so the goats live in the sizable front yard. At first, that was a bit awkward.
“I thought, ‘I can’t have goats in the front yard. Who does that?’” she said. Since then, she learned a neighbor also has several goats that he rents out to clear land.
“But we were first!” Ashling said.
Huey and Jasmine are pet goats, so they are not rented out to eat kudzu. They are actually easier to care for than dogs, Ashling said, because they don’t have fleas, they don’t demand to come into the house and they don’t have serious anxiety issues. When tornado warnings blared recently, the goats simply cuddled up in their makeshift goat house in the front yard while Luna hid in the closet, Ashling said.
Huey and Jasmine do have one major fear – a neighbor who likes to drive fast in a white Lamborghini. When that car drives by, the goats will stop what they are doing “and look all concerned,” Ashling said.
The two goats have definite personalities, Ashling said. Huey, named for the cartoon duck, is a confident beast who likes to explore and stands tall and handsome, she said. Jasmine has a sweet personality, just like the flower she is named for.
Ashling and her husband used to walk the goats around the neighborhood, but now the animals are too big and strong. The goats do like to approach the fence to check out pedestrians walking by, hoping to snag a scrumptious treat or a quick chin scratch.
Contrary to popular belief, goats, or at least Huey and Jasmine, are finicky eaters, Ashling said. They like to eat Christmas trees and lots of fruit, but turn up their snouts at bananas and carrots.
One question people ask frequently is if the goats are legally allowed to live in the residential neighborhood of Wieuca Road.
Ashling said she checked city zoning codes before doing anything and goats are allowed to live in a yard as long as they are located at least 150 feet away from the next unit.
“I think [having goats here] kind of brings Buckhead down to a more human level,” Ashling said. “Buckhead has a reputation for being so formal and stuffy.”
Having a couple goats living in a resident’s front yard adds a bit of personality to the normally staid neighborhood, she said.
“And I have to give thanks to my husband. He is used to having manicured lawns and now there are hoof prints all over the yard,” she said.
Ashling works as a private wealth consultant as her day job. “Herding goats is better,” she said. “They have the simple, no-stress life we all aspire to.”
The goats have their own Facebook page, “Buckhead Goats,” and regularly receive fan mail.
“The goats are kicking everyone out of their comfort zones,” she said. “And that’s a good thing.”