You cannot use cooking spray to take a goat out of a tree.

At least, it didn't work July 1 when 59-year-old Alysia Krafel tried it after one of her goats, King George, got stuck in an oak tree on her property.

One last bite
Goats love to eat oak leaves, and King George is no exception.

Krafel's goat yard, guarded by a giant white great Pyrenees dog, is full of oak trees stripped of their leaves as far as six feet up from the ground. King George, and several of Krafel's other goats, are taller than her when they stand on their hind legs.

Krafel suspects King George was trying just that on a tree when he slipped, twisting his foot and catching it in a narrow crevice between oak branches.

When she returned that night from her Seattle vacation, she found her goat hanging from an oak tree, his feet barely touching the hole he had dug in his struggle.

I sprayed Pam all over everything to try and grease it, but he's a 215 pound animal, Krafel said.

Krafel is quick to admit the humor of the situation. But at the time, it was anything but funny to her. King George's body was contorted in ways that no goat can endure for more than a few hours.

He was so tired, he wasn't even crying anymore, she said.

But as I got close, he did let loose a bellow of anguish.

Alone in the dark

Her nearest neighbors are 200 yards away, and by the time Krafel started knocking on doors, no one was awake. Her husband was even further away at the time with his mother in Seattle, still on vacation.

Krafel knew she could hurt herself trying to get the goat down. She remembered a time when her ram struck her in the back, hurting her so badly she nearly had to crawl back into the house.

A trip to the chiropractor and some anti-inflammatory drugs later, Krafel had healed and was rid of the ram, but knew better than to try something dangerous.

If a falling branch were to strike her as she cut the tree down, she could find herself yelling for hours and still be unheard. Worse yet, she could be knocked unconscious.

But she had to act quickly.

Krafel called the Tehama County Sheriff's Department to explain the situation.

I'm going to do something really dangerous, and I'm alone, and if you don't hear from me, please send someone out to help me, she recalled telling the dispatcher.

The dispatcher would have none of it. Krafel was not to do anything dangerous and help would be sent.

Soon, Deputy Sheriff Chris Thomas was on the scene.

Getting the goat

About midway through the tree, it became clear that Krafel's saws were not enough to cut through the thick oak trunk.

Thomas and Krafel would need something more.

Krafel called Tom Gregory, half a mile down the road. As a construction engineer and the owner of TRG Equipment Services, Gregory is used to being the go-to guy when his neighbors need help, whether that means rescuing people from floods and fires or burying a dead horse.

We've helped each other out lots of times, Gregory said.

Cutting the tree in three spots took just five minutes.

But those five minutes may have saved King George's life the goat's forlorn look suggested he was about to give in, Gregory said.

After the tree was cut down, Thomas stuck around for at least another 20 minutes, waiting to see if the goat was OK, Krafel said.

Lesson learned

King George is healing now, and Krafel said she will be taking a saw to the yard, looking for the kind of holes a goat can get stuck in.

More than that, however, Krafel said the experience taught her an important lesson about when to ask for help.

A lot of the time we think of the Sheriff as only helping in certain situations, but in fact, the Sheriff is like a neighbor that we pay, Krafel said. I think the people who live out in rural areas need to realize that.

Asked whether King George learned a lesson as well, Krafel said no.

He's a goat, she said.

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Staff Writer Geoff Johnson can be reached at 527-2153, extension 114, or at gjohnson@redbluffdailynews.com