BOSTON — Shortly after he was born, a few zoo visitors jokingly wiped the name of the newborn goat off the dry-erase board at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston.
In the nearly four months since then, the name “Foles” has been written in wet-erase marker. It’s not going anywhere.
It didn’t take long for Foles — named after Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles thanks to a bet between Zoo New England and the Philadelphia Zoo — to quickly win over everyone who visits him or steps inside the large barn-like pen to give him a rub.
“He’s sooo cute!” an elementary-aged boy exclaimed to his friends after Foles gave him a little nuzzle. “I wish I could have one.”
The little boy and his friends started giggling. They couldn’t stop giggling. All the giggling.
Really, the reactions from children when they meet Foles the goat aren’t that different than the reactions from Eagles fans when they meet Foles the G.O.A.T.
That’s not all Foles has in common with Foles. The day after he was born, Foles (the goat) was taken for his postnatal exam. It can be a traumatic experience for a newborn goat kid, getting prodded and poked.
“I don’t think he even cried,” said Hannah Keklak, one of the goat keepers.
So Foles went into a high-stress situation, kept his composure and remained calm.
In Boston, most of the grumbling about Foles’ name has died down. It didn’t take long for Keklak or fellow keeper Laura Allaire to be won over by the adorable little goat. Keklak called him “baby” for a while, but eventually, the two admitted Patriots fans gave in.
“We’ve accepted his name,” Allaire said with a smile and a head nod.
About two months after Foles’ birth, a group of about 35-40 Eagles fans, wearing jerseys and carrying banners, came to visit the young goat. We’ve always known Eagles fans travel well, but this is a new one.
Patriots fans are welcome to visit the Philadelphia Zoo, but they won’t find a goat named Brady.
Foles the goat is sociable, perhaps even more than his family members at Franklin Farm. He seems to love people and eagerly greets them when they enter his space. On Wednesday afternoon, he rested in the shade but became enamored with one male visitor. He licked the salty sweat from his legs, playfully butted his head into his side and acted pretty much like a dog wanting attention.
This is admittedly the first time I have ever petted one of my subjects. Foles was happy to oblige, nuzzling and eventually standing on his hind legs and resting his front ones on my thigh to get a closer look at me.
While the zoo announced Foles’ name on May 10, he was born on April 23. Foles is nearing his four-month birthday, but likely won’t stop growing until he’s about a year old.
Nigerian dwarf goats are originally from Western Africa, but there are many of them in the United States. Foles is one of 10 at the 72-acre Franklin Park Zoo. The goats have a median age of 15 and are herbivores.
The average size of a newborn is about 1 or 2 pounds, but by the time the zoo introduced him a few weeks after his birth, Foles was already 5 pounds. An overachiever, just like his namesake.
Like Nick Foles, Foles the goat has a pretty good life, even in the midst of a bunch of Patriots fans. He’s surrounded by his family at the zoo: his dad Lucky, his mom Leia, sister Chewbacca and half-brother Vader.
So, was Foles going to be named Luke had it not been for the bet?
Well, actually, when Leia had an ultrasound, it showed a huge baby growing inside her. That’s when the veterinarian began to call the unborn goat Jabba, as in Jabba the Hut.
Thank God the Eagles won the Super Bowl.