By Neil Athey
Meet the goat who loves nothing more than donning flamboyant outfits, long walks in the countryside and even cheeky trips to the pub.
Pygmy goat Eric, named after Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, is down at owner Jack Barrett’s local that often that punters barely raise an eyebrow when he trots in to enjoy a bowl of ice cold water.
Despite enjoying a baa-lanced diet of goat feed fruit and vegetables, bizarrely Eric’s favourite snack is Quavers – a treat he wolfs down at the pub.
Jack a scaffolder from Burnley, Lancs, said: “Eric is great, he’s so well behaved, when we’re at the pub he’s really chilled out around people.
“He will lie down next to me and chill or he will have a little wander around, he likes being around people and doesn’t shy away.
“He comes with me roughly once a week. He only ever has water at the pub though, I don’t want to give him something that might upset his stomach.
“I wouldn’t give my child beer, so why would I give it to my goat?
“He absolutely loves Quavers. One day one of my sons was eating them and he tried to get one, so I fed him a couple and he’s fancied them ever since.”
Jack’s pals thought he was kidding when he mentioned he was buying a goat that would kip in the kitchen, but they soon accepted the dapper duo on pub trips.
To ensure one-year-old Eric looks his best when out and about, Jack dresses him in a variety of tops and accessories including a tiny Manchester United shirt.
The 40-year-old dad of two said: “I’ve probably spent about £80 on outfits for him, I go on eBay and look for dog costumes and pick out the ones I like.
“I was in a pub beer garden recently and Eric was dressed in a green bow tie and an orange polo top and he got lots of looks from people.
“Whenever we’re out and about we’re stopped for pictures, everyone just comes round taking photos.
“Whenever we go out we set off in good time to make sure we get there on time.”
When the pair aren’t chilling out at home or the pub they often embark on day trips to Manchester, Blackpool and the Lake District.
Jack, who has previously owned three dobermann dogs, said he was inspired to get Eric after watching Australian TV show ‘The Jimbo and Gary the Goat comedy show’.
After researching the practicalities and legalities of owning one Jack successfully applied for a County Parish Holding licence in January 2017.
Jack said “One day I thought ‘I fancy something new’ and decided to buy a goat.
“A friend of mine helped me look into how to get one and what I would need to keep it.
“I got a County Parish Holding licence so I could legally own him and made sure he was registered.”
Eric, who cost £150 to buy from a local farm, has lived with Jack for nine months and curls up to sleep in the kitchen at night.
Jack said Eric also enjoys a great relationship with sons, Oskar, two, and Max, 11, who has cerebral palsy.
Jack said: “The kids love him, they have loved him from the start and were never scared of him.
“Eric will sit and play with Max on the floor and he will stand near Oskar while he’s in his chair when we are out and about. He’ll jump on their beds and play with them.”
The house-trained mammal is generally well behaved but went through a tricky phase of chomping down on Jack’s electrical wires.
Jack said: “He used to have one bad habit of eating my phone chargers, I’ve been through a fair few of them recently.
“I have to keep them out of the way so he can’t chew on them.
“He also tries to nibble bits of furniture but fortunately he doesn’t leave a mark so it isn’t really a problem. He’s just so laid back he doesn’t cause any damage.”
Pygmy goats can live up to around 14 years old and are known for their small size and friendly nature.
Avid footy Jack said he named Eric in honour of former Man United forward Eric Cantona – but also to annoy his Liverpool FC mates.
Jack said: “I do follow Manchester United so he was named after the great Eric Cantona.
“But the main reason why I called him that was because I have lots of mates who are Liverpool fans and I knew it would wind them up.”