MONROE, Oregon — Between politics and the pandemic, a lot of people are stressed out.
If you like animals, the outdoors, and are looking for ways to unwind, there’s a good option available. It’s called Goat Happy Hour.
Lainey Morse gave us a tour over Zoom of her Monroe farm, No Regrets Farm & Sanctuary. It’s located in Benton County about two hours from Portland. Back in 2016, around the time of the election, Morse spearheaded the idea that went viral: goat yoga.
“We had the BBC come out, National Geographic, New York Times,” said Morse.
But because of the pandemic, her 10 Original Goat Yoga locations around the country have shut down.
“We want to be farming happiness and not sickness, so we’re just out of caution closed it down,” she said.
Now, with all the stress associated with the pandemic and election, she is offering free goat happy hour.
“We’re once again in the middle of a presidential election and people need peace,” said Morse.
“It’s just about getting outside, surrounding yourself with loving animals […] and disconnecting from stress and it works," she said.
All you have to do is go to goatyoga.net and click the ‘Contact Us’ tab to set a date for an in-person, private tour. Morse’s farm in Monroe and one in Oregon City are available for small groups. The maximum number of people at the Monroe farm is six people, while at the Oregon City farm, it’s nine people.
“How it works is they show up. We mask up. I put hand sanitizer on them. I take them for a loop around the farm. We’ve got a trail that we take and all the goats follow, and the dogs,” Morse said.
Oh, and did we mention there are pigs too?
“We call them emotional support pigs. They are hilarious. We end the goat happy hour experience with feeding the pigs a popsicle. They love popsicles,” laughed Morse.
“I just think this is nature’s natural medicine to bond with animals that give so much love," she said.
Morse said the farm in Oregon City is booked this weekend and over Nov. 28-29. Her farm in Monroe is booked out until Nov. 15 but she’s open on Thanksgiving. Both farms, she said, have availability on weekday and weekends. To visit, all you’ve got to do is schedule it online.
While the goat happy hours are free of charge, Morse said donations are always accepted.
“It feels not right to do that right now. I know people are both suffering financially and mentally,” Morse said.
“If you want to give, fine. If you don’t and you can’t, that’s cool too. We totally understand," she said.
She said even if you can’t make it out for a goat happy hour, she encourages people to unwind by getting outdoors and making it a point to be around animals. Morse said even volunteering at an animal shelter will help you feel better.
Morse said she hopes she will be able to start up goat yoga sessions again this spring, but will have to wait and see. For now, she has plans in the spring to rent out a small getaway workspace for couples who are working from home, but want to have a good view and time with animals on the farm.