When I started Goat Yoga, it was meant to be a therapy for humans, giving them a happy distraction from life’s stressors. The concept quickly took hold all over the world as people realized the therapeutic qualities of goats, animals and nature. It was an easy business concept, which made it spread like wildfire with goat yoga popping up everywhere from Arizona to Australia. People who attend felt the joy that only animals and nature can provide. We estimate that at the end of 2019, there were over 500 goat yoga businesses all over the world and this new industry was generating small farmers and rural areas over five million dollars a year world-wide. The Original Goat Yoga brand was set to have a record year with a booked calendar of events into late Fall. We were seeing the success of so many other goat yoga businesses around the world absolutely rocking it.
Enter 2020 and the only thing that could bring goat yoga to its knees was a global pandemic. The ban on events and social distancing was impossible for businesses to continue and ultimately, we all had to close shop for the unforeseeable future just when the world needed the therapeutic experience the most. I was hopeful that we would be able to open back up in the summer until I read the CDC’s latest guidelines.
Although the CDC does say that the risk is low, are we willing to roll the dice? Although, they do only mention cats and dogs as “pets”, I know when we have events, we have humans petting and snuggling those animals which I feel, are just like any cat or dog out there. They are not behind a fence where we can just look at them in the pasture. They are on top of us, under us, in your laps and all around us. Even if you have a small group, outdoors with a lot of distance between participants…you still have the goats connecting each one of those participants by touching those animals. With this is mind, the CDC has put out a new guideline.
Dr, Fauci is now saying that we will most likely have a 2nd wave in the fall if social distancing is not followed. I see a few states are starting to open back up. I want to go back to normal just like everyone else, but it is more important to keep your family and animals safe. I’ve seen an animal sanctuary come up with the Goat-To- Meeting Zoom conferencing idea to help bring donations in for the farm. Good for her thinking out of the box! That is a great idea and I see that many have followed suit. That is what we need to do is think about of the box, think of things that will be good for your family, your farm and help sustain you. I have been holding Virtual Goat Happy Hour but, not for profit. It was something that I thought would give people a happy distraction from what they are going through. I have been in marketing my whole life and it does not feel right in my heart to sell gift certificates for future events. Who knows when we will be able to hold them? I do not feel right asking people to pay for a virtual experience when I know they should be saving their money or paying bills or buying food.
At Original Goat Yoga our tagline is “Farming Happiness”. The sole reason we are in business is to make people happy. We might not be able to do that today, tomorrow or maybe even this year, but I promise you that when things get back to our NEW normal, we will be here for you. I think I speak for all the goat yoga businesses out there. We have seen what it does for humans, and we cannot forget their smiling faces, their laughter at each event. That is what drives each and every one of us and it is the best job in the world. Be safe and be well. *Virtual hugs!* -Lainey
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