Saving a life is all in a day’s work for Island County Assessor Mary Engle.
The elected assessor was called into action last month while she was teaching a new appraiser how to measure farm buildings. They stopped at Central Whidbey’s historic Jenne Farm, owned by Fran Einterz and Joyce Peterson.
Engle said she noticed as they arrived that a black-and-white goat in a fenced pasture seemed to be in distress.
She kept an eye on the animal as they worked and finally went to inspect.
She said she quickly realized that the goat was having difficulty giving birth.
The baby goat was stuck on the way out, with only its head and a leg visible.
Engle called her husband, longtime Coupeville farmer Bob Engle, and asked him what to do.
“He said, ‘I don’t know. Use your feminine instincts,’” she said. Her instinct was to pull. Engle said she yanked on the little kid, which induced the nanny-goat to contract and the baby was safely born almost immediately.
Engle said they waited until the tiny goat got up and walked, then left as a neighboring farmer arrived to help.
“Being in the field, you see so many weird things,” Engle said, “but that was a new one.”
Einterz and Peterson were in Cuba when the assessor birthed their kid. They found out about it on Facebook.
“I have no doubt that Mary saved the baby,” Einterz said. “We’re very thankful.”
Einterz said he and his wife have nine adult goats on their farm and two kids with more on the way.
Einterz said he and his wife don’t normally name their goats, but the mother goat happened to be a doe they call “Unihorn” because of missing headwear. They named the baby girl “Julia.”
“She’s the most social goat we’ve ever had,” Einterz said, adding that it might be due to her mother — a patient, mature goat that’s had five or six kids previously.
Einterz speculated the birth of little Julia was likely the first time an elected county official helped to birth an animal on the historic farm.