Josh Shaffer

She got a Valentine’s Day gift for the ages – a gift that had ‘never crossed’ her mind

Just before noon, Heather Massengill’s Valentine’s Day present arrived in the back of a pickup, its nose poking through the slats of a wooden crate.

It bounded up the driveway at the end of a pink leash and grabbed a mouthful of pine straw, still chewing as the front doorbell rang.

Then Massengill swung open the door to a hoofed surprise: a pair of Nigerian goats ready to spread romance.

“Definitely the most memorable present,” Massengill said Wednesday without any visible trace of fury. “Goats never crossed my mind.”

For 30 minutes, Blue and May romped on the front porch, grazed on the lawn and gobbled feed from the hands of Massengill’s 2-year-old, Jake.

This quiet, suburban street became among the first to experience a goat-a-gram, the holiday brainchild of Andrew Crihfield at Spring Haven Farm in Chapel Hill. As a bonus, Crihfield brought a bouquet of roses suitable either for pitching woo or goat snacks.

“What better way to deliver flowers?” asked Blake Massengill, thoughtful husband. “Let the goats do it.”

Crihfield, a network engineer turned organic farmer, tried goat-a-grams as a new method of monetizing the horned residents of his barnyard. He’d already hosted goat yoga, goat pumpkin-carving and goat Christmas. Goat-a-grams, to his delight, took off.

While Blue and May nibbled, young Jake hid behind a ceramic elephant on the porch. But he quickly warmed to his friends with the rectangular pupils, inviting them into his toy police car. He is likely the only resident of his cul-de-sac with firsthand knowledge of how goat’s digestive systems work.

Crihfield almost sighed when he explained that the visit was temporary and the Massengills could not keep them.

“Keep them?” asked Heather Massengill, not having considered the thought.

With that, Blue and May returned to their crate, having more exotic love to spread.