A helpless baby goat was saved from certain death by a group of walkers and a caring farmer in Co Kerry over the weekend.
The animal, an infant female, was found cold and close to drowning on Sunday morning by members of the Ballymac/Glenageenty Ramblers, a group of hillwalkers and climbers.
As the group walked up the side of a hill near Coonanna, they spotted a group of wild goats gathered low on the hillside a short distance away.
A couple of minutes later, one of the group's members heard the distressed cries of a young goat and, following the sounds, he found the kid close to the side of a pond.
“The kid was really struggling, you could see it was exhausted,” said Coleman Quirke, a bookshop owner from Cahersiveen and one of the ramblers.
Because of her small stature, the kid fell under the water a couple of times, and so the group became very concerned for her safety.
After a bit of a struggle, they managed to hoist the goat out of the pond and dry her off.
They then placed her on the ground close to the herd, before moving away so as not to frighten any of the adult goats.
The herd however, seemed to disregard the kid, and it also became apparent that the infant was unable to walk properly.
Given her condition, the ramblers reasoned that, if they were to leave the young kid alone, she might not survive.
Mr Quirke brought her back to his home where he managed to give her a little bit of goat's milk brought from a nearby shop as she warmed up on a heated blanket. As she rested, Mr Quirke's young son gave her the name 'Azzy'.
Still fearing for her health somewhat, Mr Quirke turned to a man in the area who he knew could help care for Azzy.
Seán O’Laoghaire, a farmer and storyteller from Portmagee, went viral during lockdown for streaming daily videos of his small herd of goats of Facebook and Youtube, racking up tens of thousands of views and receiving coverage from media outlets in the US and New Zealand in the process.
He was only too happy to come to Azzy’s aid.
"They gave me a ring and I said, of course, I’d look after her.”
When she arrived she was exhausted, so Seán got her a plastic box and a warm fleecy coat for warmth.
“The mothers in the wild, they’ll hide the kids in the heather to keep them warm, and I’ve a funny feeling that maybe she was hidden and she slipped out into the water then," he said.
Reckoning that Azzy is just a few days old, he then went to the vet first thing this morning to get some vitamins and supplements to ensure she gets the nourishment she needs.
“Now she’s doing great, she sleeps at the side of my bed and when she cries, I give her a drop of milk,” he said.
“It would be very hard to release her back into the wild because it seems as though the herd didn’t want anything to do with her, because she may have lost her scent in the water.
"The mothers and babies have a scent for each other, but if she was a long time in the water, she would have lost that scent and so the mother wouldn’t have recognised her.”
Seán says he is happy to continue care for Azzy for as long as necessary.
"She’ll probably stay here on the farm and we’ll see how it goes," he said.
"We’re not the most intensive of dairy herds, so there’s plenty of room for Azzy.
"She’s going to have the best life I can give her,” he said.
- Updates on Azzy's exploits, and all Seán's other videos, can be found on his Facebook page.