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Having pet goats is the prettiest trend on college campuses now

Alex Buckley's fraternity at Penn State University always wanted a pet. Most Greek houses that want one usually have a dog, because cats are a boring pet and the fish are boring. Since Buckley's brotherhood is Lambda Chi Alpha, the brothers often joked that they should get a "Lambda Chi Lamb" as a pet, but Buckely said no one really acted on it.

] He and some friends discovered that obtaining a Nigerian dwarf goat or a pygmy goat was much more realistic than buying a lamb. They got one from Trout Run, Pennsylvania, which they called Bella Russe. It's adorable, and if you have any doubts about it, you probably have not seen his popular Instagram account, @psugoat, which "has DM'd in the record", as Buckley said.

"It's not just our fraternity's pet, it's a friend and a member of the community," Buckley told The Huffington Post. "We would like it to finally become not only an icon for our fraternity, but an icon for our school, we plan to take it to sporting events, philanthropic events and hope that Bella can become an asset to the community."

In February, Alpha Sigma Alpha fraternity and brotherhood teamed up with Bella as a moral boost just before the annual THON, a 46-hour charity marathon dance event for cancer where participants can not sleep, sit or take caffeine. . The two Greek houses raised more than $ 220,000 and let two of the children they sponsored, Trent and Michael, play with Bella for more than an hour.

Bella Russe meets at THON 2016 at Penn State University.

"What started from a fun idea to get a frat goat, became a campaign to improve and improve the Penn State community," Buckley insisted.

Bella Russe is part of a trend in some American college campuses of students who obtain small goats for pets – pygmy and pygmy goats, to be specific.

Evan Marinis got a dwarf goat from Craigslist and often took her to the Chicago Cubs games, although they had to hang out outside the stadium. Marinis also took his goat, Littleton, to his fraternity house, where his brothers described him as a stuffed dog, but he does not bark.

But Marinis was originally looking for a puppy, according to Littleton's co-owner, Quinn Hagan. People thought it was a crazy idea to get a goat, Hagan said, but they decided to split the costs of the veterinarian for Littleton and his brother, Waller.

"He loved being around people and playing, but he was happy to get his brother back and have another goat to be with," Hagan told HuffPost.

Hagan and Marinis are from the Chicago area. They obtained the goats as students at the University of Missouri, where Hagan still attends, although Marinis was transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Littleton and Waller behaved like dogs. For example, when traveling by car, they would climb on someone's knees and see things pass through the window. Their life expectancy is similar to that of a dog, said Hagan, between 8 and 18.

"I've come across many puppies that have given me a much harder time than they," Hagan said. "They behave very well and are very friendly with people." When we bought Littleton for the first time, everyone on campus was dying to meet him and take pictures with him, he would never get upset or try to run away, and he got some naps, he loved to meet everyone in Mizzou. "

However, not everything is fun and games.

Some students bought a goat for $ 80 on Craigslist at the University of South Carolina, but had problems with the repeated leak. One day it took 25 hours to capture the goat, and soon after, control of the animals took him away. But this was a full-sized goat, not a miniature, as they told WJBF.

The Kappa Sigma fraternity at Tennessee Tech University had a pet goat named Ranger that became quite popular in 2015, but died in July due to kidney stones that had trouble passing.

Most pygmy goats are bred as companion animals such as cats and dogs, according to Lionel Dawson, a professor at Oklahoma State University with experience in farm animals. Some are raised in backyards and others are trained to live inside a house, Dawson said. The key to knowing if they can be raised as pets is how well the owners go with the nutrition of the goats, he explained: "They need to be fed forage like hay and some grain."

If you can have a goat as a pet it also depends on the local ordinances of the city and the neighbors.

Hagan said they "built a sweet pen" for Littleton and Waller in their parents' backyard in Glenview, Illinois, but the neighbors got upset and had to move them to a farm. They plan to pick them up again this summer for more Chicago Cubs games.

At Penn State, some Lambda Chi Alpha students were not excited, but Buckley said they were told that Bella was a domesticated pet, not an animal that was kept for livestock purposes.

Bella is "essentially trained to go to the bathroom," according to Buckley. She never stays alone, either. Buckley complained slightly that people are so interested in spending time with Bella, that sometimes she has trouble dating her. And she sleeps on a bed made of stones and straw, and enjoys playing on sofas.

Buckley also has short-term plans to make sure Bella is well cared for. During spring break, she was brought back to the farm from which she was forced to spend time with other goats, and when Buckley is absent from an internship this summer, they will board her on a farm outside of Pittsburgh. But there is a cost to that, and visits and vaccines from the veterinarian of large animals, so they have a GoFundMe to help cover the expenses.

"Bella is truly an extraordinary animal, she is friendly, pleasant, fun and very spoiled," Buckley said. "She lives in a fraternity house with a father and 40 uncles who love and care for her, and lives on a campus with 46,000 people who are dying to meet her." Bella Russe is not her average goat. living The life. "

This article has been updated with comments from Professor Lionel Dawson.

Tyler Kingkade is a national reporter covering higher education and based in New York. You can contact him at, or find him on Twitter: @tylerkingkade.

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