He became a symbol just by being alive.
Houdini: a goat among goats, who ignored the screech and honk of I-65 traffic and serenely chewed thickets of weeds along the interstate’s shoulder. The machines of man meant nothing to him.
One moment, he would stand stiff and defiant, glaring at passing cars. The next moment he was gone in a blur of coarse gray fur, leaving behind whispered myth and blurry photos.
They named him Houdini. They put him on social media. His legend grew. And by the thousands, motorists from Kentucky and Indiana heard his legend and clicked “LIKE” triumphantly. Today, Houdini, the I-65 goat, now has almost 37,000 followers.
Just a few months ago, it seemed all was lost for the great goat. In October, 2018, Houdini edged just inches too far off the shoulder, and a passing motorist clipped his leg. He spun violently, bleating with fury, and tumbled to the road side. Despite the pain, the always indomitable bovid got to his hooves and hopped awkwardly back into the sagging brush, but the damage was done. The mighty goat’s leg had been broken.
Hardin County Animal Control sprang into action and combed the roadside for hours, looking for our wounded hero. He defied capture for hours, but, wounded and weak, workers were finally able to subdue him. He did more than resist: he fought.
But even the mightiest heroes can only fight so long.
Hardin County gave the famous goat the best in animal care and his leg mended under a hefty splint, but even the selfless efforts of Hardin County could not restore his injured leg completely, leaving him with a pronounced limp. His days as a symbol along the artery of Indiana-Kentucky traffic were over.
His story, gladly, was not.
Broadbent Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvington, Kentucky, offered Houdini a luxurious home of five acres and a sleeping barn. The staff provides him with clean blankets for cold nights, and special fencing keeps him from wandering packs of coyotes. Not to protect Houdini, you understand.
To protect the coyotes.
You can visit him today. His limp is still prominent, but don’t entertain thoughts of feeding him or sneaking open the gate to his pen. The staff still works on his rehabilitation daily, but he doesn’t make it easy. He kicks, he snorts, and he nips. Houdini may be domestic now, but don’t think for a second that he’s domesticated.
Every day, the mighty goat of the Midwest still tries to escape.
Godspeed, road warrior goat.