BURKE - Ricky stood.
The (almost) month-old goat was left for dead on a bridge on I-91 in St. Johnsbury, but rescued by a kind-hearted VTrans worker. He barely survived but now, with constant care from his adoptive mom Julie Webber, of Burke, Ricky seems poised for an epic comeback.
Webber said he stood on his own for the first time on Monday night.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Webber. He’s been kept inside with the family, and then placed outdoors some in a former child’s toy with a diaper-like device made for his legs to go through, so he can be suspended.
The family have other goats who have been bleating sounds to him, and Ricky is starting to eat grass on his own and explore in tiny little, wobbly baby steps.
At Webber’s home on Gaskell Hill Road on Friday afternoon Ricky indeed was standing - and taking little tiny steps, often backwards - on his own. He was able to lay down on his own, and though very fragile, is recovering and showing signs of mobility.
“He’s stuck in reverse,” said Webber, as little Ricky backed up very carefully outside her home on Friday.
Shauna Clifford, the district project manager for VTrans District 7 in St. Johnsbury, was first on scene at Ricky’s rescue and placed him in Webber’s care since they have a farm and love animals.
Ricky was found not quite a month ago on the northbound lane lying on the shoulder of the bridge that spans the Passumpsic River. A box was nearby when the goat was discovered. He was lying on the ground, but it appeared he had been in the box.Ricky still had the umbilical cord attached when he was discovered before 6 a.m. on a Monday morning in early June by VTrans Bridge Foreman, Dan Whitehead.
He rescued the goat and contacted Clifford. She went to meet him at the St. Johnsbury VTrans garage to help.
The Vermont State Police have been helpful with the case, and the women said they owe a debt of gratitude to Danville vet Dr. Emily Comstock, who has been caring for Ricky, coming to the Webber’s farm, meeting them at the park and ride and more - trying to help give him a fighting chance.
Carolyn Morrison, whose family runs Morrison’s Feeds in St. Johnsbury, and who Webber knew, provided colostrum from her goats so that Ricky, who was deprived the critical nutrients as a newborn being separated from his mother too soon, could have the important early milk from a surrogate goat.
“People have gone above and beyond,” said Webber.
Clifford added, “Oh Ricky … He had no idea how many people were pulling for him.”
Clifford said when she picked up the prescriptions for him recently, staff at the pharmacy were rooting for him, and asked about his progress.
He’s eating grass eagerly now outside and feed, said Webber.
X rays have shown that Ricky has a spinal cord injury but not a break, from being dropped or fallen when he ended up on the side of the highway next to an empty box which it appeared he had been inside of from droppings inside the box.
Clifford launched a Go Fund Me page to help with veterinary costs.
So far the effort raised more than $1,000 in donations are still sought in the event Ricky requires ongoing veterinary care and help later if he makes it and needs a cart to get around.
The link to the Gofundme page is: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ricky-the-baby-goat-vet-bills
If there are more funds than Ricky needs for his care, the money will go to the humane society, the women said.
See a short movie of Ricky walking at caledonianrecord.com