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Herds for Hire

Tucked back in the woods of Vashon Island, Washington, lies a scenic pasture with 10 dozen goats and their two loyal guard dogs. If you were to stumble upon the scene, you’d never know that every animal there had a job.

If you were to ask Tammy Dunakin, owner and operator of Rent-A-Ruminant LLC how she dreamt of this goat-grazing business, she’d say, “I came home from work one day, and my two pet goats just looked…meh,” she said. “You guys look bored. You need a job.”

Like most groups that start a business, they had a slow start. However, after the news got out that a herd of goats were at the ready to clear pastures and fields in Seattle, business boomed. From radio interviews to viral social media and even a segment on Colbert, these get-up-and-go goats made a name for themselves.

The beautifully choreographed system Tammy has designed to get her goats from one location to the next is virtually seamless. From herding the goats into the trailer to loading them on the ferry to the final release into the jobsite, she has it down.

Sure, the goats look storybook adorable as they munch away unwanted weeds on commercial and residential properties – on quiet hillsides or busy urban patches. But other benefits to choose goats over machinery or chemicals stack up as high as an overgrown lawn on a warm summer day.

“Goats are about as green as you can get. They can go where people and machines cannot go easily or safely. They also sterilize the weed seed in their digestive process, which is the superpower of goats,” Tammy explains with pride and a smile.

Along with keeping the environment green, Tammy also makes it the company mission to rescue as many goats as she can, prompting the only two goat rescues in the state of Washington to give Rent-A-Ruminant their primary endorsement.

“They know we care about our animals. We’re not exploiting them or out to make a buck off them,” Tammy said. “Trust me, they eat a lot of bucks.”

The company’s values and day-to-day business operations clearly align with Better Business Bureau’s high standards. Tammy focuses on trust, respect and credibility, because “that is how you become successful in business.” She explains that BBB helps her legitimize her otherwise unorthodox business model.

Rent-A-Ruminant has been accredited with BBB for seven years, and if you’ve met Tammy, you’d know why. Her passion for these goats and responsiveness to problems is what sets her apart. Though Tammy doesn’t have any human employees, she certainly treats each of her goats and guard dogs like family.

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Written by Courtney Green

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