only on vashon – the weekly rundown 08/06/2021

It’s been a long time since we’ve talked about our most beloved subject- farm animals on the lam. And this week we’ve had a number of them! We’ll start with the cow. 

A black cow was spotted at midnight trailing a rope. This begs the obvious question: where was the satanic ritual and why wasn’t I invited?

The cow was seen on the way to Islewilde. It may be getting safe to pick up hitchhikers again, so I say, give the girl a ride. You wouldn’t want her to miss the music. 

It turns out she is a shy cow that someone had reported missing. How do you catch a shy cow? One group member told a story of the time he grabbed the lead of an escaped cow, only to be dragged headfirst through a bunch of cement planters, breaking them with his skull. So taking the cow by the lead is not recommended. One member organized a late-night search party, having everyone be on alert for a pair of furtive bovine eyes in the darkness. Some suggested ratling a bucket of feed to get the cow’s attention.

These cows are here to harvest your soul.
image from

But maybe the cow wants to be free. An islander shared the story of cows in Ontario who would take turns holding the fence down so the others could escape.

Another cow got away- this one golden. We didn’t find the owner, but, deep in the comments, we did somehow reunite a man with his lost wallet.

Geese were also on the loose near Burton. These geese act as crossing guards, determining who gets to drive down the street and who must stop. 

I did some investigative reporting (aka talking to my friend who owns the geese) and learned a bit about their backstory. They are kind, gentle geese. The only goose she had who’s ever bitten someone was eaten and lives on as a feather pillow. Another goose of hers, Cecil, sometimes scares people because he approaches with his head down, which looks hostile but really he’s saying, and I quote,  “Aren’t I pretty.” He also raises ducklings. 

So there’s no need to worry about the escaped geese near Burton. They always find their way home. Though there is a goat named Skippy who got himself into trouble once when he just wanted to play. He got loose and chased a neighbor onto the roof of his car, and the neighbor had to call his wife for help. (I hope she ‘helped’ by taking a photo and laughing until she peed. That’s what I would have done. It’s a wonder my husband’s put up with me all these years. Maybe it’s because we’ve never had a goat.) My friend’s advice is that if the goat is rushing you, just don’t lean over. It’s like bull-fighting to them. Step to the side and let them charge at nothing. 

A dog escaped and was spotted dodging cars. This is not to be confused with my dog, who also briefly escaped, but ended up on the neighbor’s porch and made it home. 

However, there’s another husky on island who looks a lot like my dog, and who routinely escapes, so I got calls from concerned islanders letting me know that someone had posted a picture of my dog causing a ruckus on Maury Island, when my dog was, in fact, asleep in my yard after tearing up a garbage bag. 

My dog, for reference next time a husky gets loose. 

 But I am grateful that people were looking out for my dog, even if it turns out they were tracking his doppelgänger. 

Finally I would like to thank everyone who helps animals by reporting on their whereabouts, contacting their owners, and giving them rides to festivals.

Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

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