GLENFIELD — White goats. Pink collars. Memorial donations for cancer victims. Put those three seemingly unconnected things together and what do you get?
In the case of Hidden Pastures Dairy in Glenfield, it’s a donation of thousands of dollars to Lewis County General Hospital’s Fund for Hope, which helps “defray some of the travel costs related to cancer treatments,” according to the fund’s webpage, and creates some very stylish goats.
This week, Blake Place, who co-owns the 240 goat Hidden Pastures Dairy with her husband Andrew, wrote a check for $2,070, from her #goatsinpinkcollars fundraiser that took place throughout the month of October.
“Someone said I should do something for “Paint the Town Pink” this summer. Originally, I thought about painting the goats pink, but that wasn’t really a good idea,” Mrs. Place said, “But from there, the collars came to me.”
Two hundred bright pink dog collars were donated by the Places’ farm nutritionist who, Mrs. Place said, preferred not to be named.
“That was my goal, 200. and as of November first, there were 207,” she said, noting that she was able to buy some extra collars to meet the demand.
To collar a goat, people went to the Hidden Pastures Dairy in person or to its website to donate $10 and, if they wanted, give the name of the person in whose memory the donation was made and any information about that person’s story they wanted to share.
Mrs. Place took pictures of the collar being put on one of her goats and posted it on the dairy’s Facebook page with whatever information was provided with the donation.
While a number of people and businesses sponsored multiple collars, one woman who grew up in Lewis County but lives in Virginia sponsored 13, one each for herself and her four siblings and for each grandchild in memory of her mother who died of cancer.
“It was really fun to do and to hear people’s stories,” Mrs. Place said, “It was a good way to channel the energy to help.”
On Oct. 4, the first collar, sponsored by Melissa Covey in memory of Bob Sullivan, was placed on the family’s favorite doe, Windy, and other goats came near to see what was happening.
“Some were quite proud to wear them,” Mrs. Place said,
Not all the goats were as excited to show off their collars for the cause.
“A whole bunch have thrown them off. They haven’t been doing it in front of me, but they know how to untie them because they’re on the ground in the morning. So, it’s happening. One girl, the third time I put her collar back on was the last time.”
Although the collars are pink and the activity took place in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Mrs. Place said she appreciates that the Fund for Hope helps people with all different kinds of cancer.
Next year, Mrs. Place said she hopes to get 250 sponsors.
“I think it will grow for sure, and the more the merrier,” Mrs. Place said.
From friends, neighbors and the men that work in the barn to her husband, daughter and friend, Nancy Cook, who gave her “the idea of doing something with goats and the color pink of October,” a big part of the fun for Mrs. Place was to have so much participation from different people.
The one thing she plans to do differently next year, however, is to bring in more organized help.
“I’m thinking maybe an FFA or student group would be perfect, because there’s a lot of little steps to do with this, like keeping up with the picture posting, that they could help with.”
Seeing her goats, “even seven or eight coming through the milking parlor,” with their pink collars meant a lot to Mrs. Place.
“It was a visual representation of how many people participated, and how many people have been touched by this disease.”
The 100-acre Hidden Pastures Dairy on State Route 12 has Alpine, Saanen and Nubian dairy goat breeds and is especially known for its goat milk gelato.