GoatCountry at The Greene in Beavercreek brings joy through goat cuddles

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

If you have walked along Magnolia Lane at The Greene in Beavercreek near Von Maur, you might have noticed a storefront with goats. Yes, they are real and, yes, you can go inside and play with them.

GoatCountry was officially started in 2021 “to try to bring the joy that these little goats brought to us out into the world,” said owner Josh Keeton.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

It all started with Ernest

During COVID, Keeton’s wife, Cassie, had cancer. She suffered with weight loss and couldn’t eat or drink.

“That was bad enough in itself, but the depression that came with that was far worst,” Keeton said.

He recalled his wife wanting to nurture something. Their six children were grown up for the most part and didn’t need them like they used to. It started out with Cassie wanting an otter. Keeton said they did everything they legally needed to do to own the otter, but on the scheduled day of its arrival at the airport, they found out it was a scam. He said his wife was even more heartbroken.

Then, out of nowhere, Cassie decided to drive two hours north to purchase a four-week-old goat. Keeton said at that time they had been married 25 years and never once had a conversation about owning any type of farm animal.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

When she brought the goat home, they immediately introduced him to their dogs. He recalled their dog, who they call “Oscar The Grouch,” growling and snapping at the goat. The goat, who is named Ernest, ended up standing on his back legs and head butting the dog.

“That was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Keeton said. “He was just a little baby and had so much attitude and personality.”

Ernest became Keeton’s best friend within a week and started helping Cassie feel better. Along that time, she also became cancer free.

“Within those first six months, he completely changed her life. She had to wake up every two to three hours and feed him,” Keeton said. “Every time she got up and fed him, she would nurture and take care of herself. She immediately started getting better.”

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

While they were researching goats, they found out goat yoga existed. Keeton was previously in maintenance and reliability and Cassie was a nurse for over 20 years. They quit their careers and started GoatCountry.

“We made a leap of faith and we started GoatCountry,” Keeton said. “The sole purpose was seeing first hand those changes and that therapy (Cassie) got from that goat and how we can give that to the world.”

The beginning of GoatCountry

The couple operated a goat yoga studio at The Beaver Valley Shopping Center in Beavercreek for two years. Their initial idea was to have a couple of small classes a week. However, after a few months, they realized people wanted them to travel to different places and host more than 25 people in a class.

Keeton said they were first contracted by Greene County to host yoga classes throughout their park system. Each class sold out with 70 to 100 participants.

After that, they were contacted by other cities, park districts, nursing homes, hospitals, schools and other businesses and organizations. This meant they weren’t in their studio as much as they had hoped. The lease ended in Sept. 2023.

GoatCountry had a stint at The Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek during the holidays and in February they opened at The Greene.

What’s offered at The Greene location

GoatCountry continues to host goat yoga two times a week, but also offers a variety of other activities.

Every other Friday they host “Kid Flix N Cuddle,” where children can watch a movie and cuddle with goats. They also have kid craft and cuddle classes with a local artist as well as adult painting classes.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

“Nothing is required to walk in here,” Keeton said. “You do not have to walk into this store and purchase anything. You can walk in here and totally sit down on the ground and cuddle with goats and love on them.”

The goats

“You spend 20 minutes with them. You talk to them,” Keeton said. “Later on, (people) go home and realize that was the coolest thing ever.”

The goats make people feel good and the therapy sneaks up on most people, Keeton said.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

What started as one goat, has turned into 45 goats on an eight-acre farm outside of Fairborn. GoatCountry has Nigerian dwarf goats, pygmy goats and silky fainting goats.

While they are in the brick-and-mortar space at The Greene, they do wear diapers to prevent messes. Other than that, they typically do not wear diapers.

Keeton said he loves “seeing on a daily basis how this company and all of these animals have changed our lives.”

GoatCountry, located at 78 Magnolia Lane, is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday unless they have a yoga session or private event. Goat yoga costs $30 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. It is open to anyone and accommodations can be made if needed. For more information, visit goatcountryllc.com or the establishment’s Facebook or Instagram pages. For more information, call 937-784-7909.

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