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Albie’s Story

In August, 2007, the Brooklyn branch of Animal Care and Control contacted Woodstock Farm Sanctuary about a young goat found wandering in Prospect Park. These calls are surprisingly common – there are over 100 live-kill markets (aka slaughterhouses) in the NYC area, and with that are frequent unclaimed escapees. Our van picked up the little white goat and transported him to our farm, along with 4 chickens and 2 ducks in search of greener pastures.

We named the little guy Albie, after the compassionate philosopher and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer.

AlbieLeg Problems
As soon as he arrived we knew Albie needed special attention. He was underweight, undernourished and infected with the worst case we’d ever seen of Orf, a condition in which lesions cover the mouth and nose, making it painful to eat. On top of it all, his left leg and hoof were infected and sensitive to the touch. Before escaping, we believe he may have been hogtied – his legs tied tightly together – which is a routine way of transporting young goats intended for meat. The lack of circulation caused a large portion of his hoof to come off, exposing soft tissue that was very painful to walk on.

Albie’s mouth sores quickly healed; however, his hoof problem was so severe it was beyond our expertise. We took him to the vet several times and treated him with daily wraps and antibiotics. But after weeks of treatment it was clear his leg was not getting better. More drastic measures were necessary. In September, Albie made the trip to the Large Animal Hospital at Cornell University where he had part of his outer leg and hoof amputated.

Martin at the MarathonThe Run for Albie
Book publisher Martin Rowe ran the New York City ING marathon for the first time, raising over $11,000 to help with Albie’s medical bills. Martin completed the 26.2 miles in just under his goal of four hours. Kind folks from across the country pledged a dollar a mile or more (many tossed in extra if Martin completed the race in less than 4 hours, which he did). Martin Rowe is the co-founder of Lantern Books, publisher of books about animals, the environment, spirituality and vegetarianism.

Albie’s initial surgery, alas, did not take well. The residual bones were just too fragile to support his weight. Unfortunately, by Christmas, it was clear his leg needed to be amputated. It was a tough decision and hearts were heavy when Albie made anther trip to Cornell in January, where his left leg was amputated just above the knee.

albie's new legProsthetist Erik Thompkins, worked with Albie for months to fit an artificial leg on him and get him walking. During that time he went from a shy, terrified little guy to a goofy, friendly troublemaker. But alas, Albie continued to grow and his legs were becoming increasingly difficult to keep on him. Time and time again Albie would wiggle his leg out of his prosthetic, leaving staff to search for it in the pasture or hidden in straw bedding in the barn.

Staff tried luring Albie to walk with carrots and alfalfa cubes – two motivating treats! But even with the heavy-duty harness he was able to kick his leg off no matter what we tried.


Albie’s New Wheels

As time went on it became increasing difficult to keep a prosthetic on him due to his amputation being above the knee. We tried harnesses, straps, different liners and just about everything you can think of to keep his leg on but alas, it would come off within minutes of walking.

After that we tried something altogether new–wheels!

Albie was fitted for a front support wheelchair made by the amazing folks at Eddie’s Wheels who worked with him at their shop in Shelburne, MA. On his second day of trying it out he was already much more confident in propelling himself forward in his new contraption and he seems pretty comfortable while in it. With some adjustments, determination and time we’re hoping that we may have found the solution that will allow Albie better mobility and comfort in his middle age and beyond.


It became increasingly clear that Albie was not interested in assistance with his mobility, and he now gets along just fine with his three fully working legs. He keeps up well with the other goats, venturing out to graze in the far corners of his goat pasture, even if it takes him a little bit longer to get there.

Your support is vital to our work providing animals with the care they need – no matter the situation. Please help us continue our life-saving work for animals by making a donation today, or consider sponsoring Albie!


Albie in the News