The Healing Power of Goat Walkabouts

Discovering the healing power of Goat Walkabouts.

Hiker walking with goats
Photo courtesy of Goat Walkabouts.

In the foothills of Golden, an unlikely group of adventurers embarks on therapeutic quests—led by the smallest and perhaps most charismatic hikers you could imagine: Nigerian dwarf goats. Their trailblazing guide is Jim Naron, a PTSD survivor turned goat whisperer, who expanded his realm beyond the yoga mat to mountain paths with the creation of Goat Walkabouts, the nonprofit arm of his successful venture, Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga.

In 2017, Naron happened upon the restorative power of goat companionship during his solitary hikes. A flash of inspiration later, his pet goats transformed from backyard companions to yoga buddies and wilderness therapists. Fast forward to 2023, and his innovative Goat Walkabouts are helping humans and goats alike find peace—one hoof at a time.

Goat Walkabouts’ public outings have evolved into anticipated monthly rituals, allowing urban dwellers to swap their office chairs for shepherd’s crooks. The upcoming public walkabout is set for June 15 at Skål Farm in Golden. All you need to participate is an open mind and a willingness to traverse Colorado’s picturesque terrain with an entourage of petite goats.

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The therapeutic jaunt isn’t solely for the benefit of bipedal hikers, however. Goats, by their very nature, yearn for exploration—an instinct that often lies dormant within the confines of their corrals. Naron’s unique hikes grant these four-legged explorers the freedom to munch on foliage, scramble up hills, and trot around in their version of goat paradise.

Hikers walking with goats
Photo courtesy of Goat Walkabouts.

As you navigate the landscape, your goat companions—never weighing more than a small microwave—prove themselves to be sociable, empathetic confidants. They’ll form bonds with you faster than you can say “this way”

And don’t just take our word for it. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI for short) has gone the extra mile to scientifically back up the psychological benefits of human-animal interaction. HABRI’s research points to studies that highlight reduced anxiety, depression, and improvements in PTSD symptoms—goats, it seems, aren’t just making their mark on Instagram.

So, whether you’re a war veteran seeking solace, an individual with intellectual disabilities, or anyone grappling with mental health challenges, Goat Walkabouts offers you a chance to join a herd that truly cares. Along with the public hikes, the organization offers private sessions, volunteer days, and advocacy meetings. Get out there, embrace the therapeutic power of frolicking goats, and let the mountains—and your hooved buddies—do the healing.