A local goat who made headlines and dazzled social media users with her penchant for travel at the height of the pandemic is one of four animals featured in a new Discovery+ streaming video series highlighting the deep bonds that form between animals and their human counterparts.
“The Bond,” produced by Robert Downey Jr., started streaming July 14 on the Discovery+ Channel and its app.
Frankie the goat was mostly unfazed by the fuss of a two-man film crew that spent a month following her and her folks, Cate and Chad Battles, on a recent road trip.
Frankie made headlines last year when she became an Instagram sensation for her travel photos from around the U.S.
To date, the goat, a pygmy Nigerian/dwarf goat cross, has traversed some 60,000 miles across the country in a hand-painted vintage Airstream, been featured in People Magazine — twice — and enjoys more than 20,000 followers on Instagram.
Needless to say, having the Discovery Channel tag along for a road trip wasn’t too big of a deal, teased Frankie’s “mom” and head goat promoter Cate Battles.
Battles, who came to Southern Oregon in 2017 with her husband and the couple’s critters from North Carolina, said she was approached about Frankie being featured on the television series in January.
“Chad and I were doing a monthlong loop around the southwest, and we were camped outside Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. I got an Instagram message from a lady who was like, ‘Hi, we’re doing this fun thing with Discovery Channel, and I love what you guys do, and I love your pictures. We’re thinking you’d be a good fit for this next project,’” Battles recalled.
“We kind of figured she’d probably contacted hundreds of people and would weed people out, and they wouldn’t actually end up picking us. We didn’t put much thought into it,” she said.
Battles, a professional artist, added, “But, sure enough, she contacted us again when we got back from our trip, and it was really happening.”
Film crews spent a month road-tripping with the trio and asked them not to change anything about the way they and Frankie coexist. Cameramen captured the couple and their goat at home in the Applegate.
“They flew there, first, to do some interviews and get some shots around town. Then a month later they rented one of those Cruise America RVs and they just followed us around the West for a whole month,” Battles said.
“They said, ‘This is real life. Nothing is staged. Whatever you have planned for today, we’ll just follow you guys around.’”
Frankie showed off some of her favorite sites, including the Painted Hills, Smith Rock and the Oregon Coast, as well as bits of Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Washington.
A true dose of real life, during the trip, Frankie and her folks visited a special spot along the coast to spread the ashes of her late best friend, the Battleses’ much-loved dog and late travel companion Maggie.
The couple shared their loss of the dog during part of their 45-minute episode.
Cate Battles said the episode was fun to help create and to watch.
“We watched the episode, and we thought they did a really great job. The guys traveling with us were just super cool, so it was like traveling with friends,” she said.
“Chad and I are pretty private people. We normally spend days where we don’t see other humans, so it was an extra dynamic for us to have some more people around while we’re traveling.”
Frankie, she noted, treated the film crew like any other fans.
“We don’t want the added fame to ‘goat’ to her head … and it didn’t for the most part. She just loved having everyone around her during filming. She loves to be the center of attention, and that just means lots of extra treats … and extra butt scratches,” Battles added.
For the series, Battles said Frankie is the only animal from this part of the world.
In addition to the not-so-humble goat, the series highlights a cheetah, a dolphin and a kangaroo.
While not a huge social media user before she began traveling with her husband and her goat, Battles said Frankie brings the couple so much joy that they can’t help but share.
“It’s been a lot of fun, and we love sharing Frankie’s adventures with the world. She brings a lot of happiness to people, sharing the beautiful places we go. It’s just a lighthearted escape,” Battles said.
“I didn’t even have an Instagram account before we left North Carolina. The only reason I started it was so our friends and family and kids back in Asheville could follow along and see what we were up to.”
She added, “We never thought other people we had never met before would want to see us traveling with our goat … and now she’s famous.”
The show is only accessible via subscription to Discovery+, but a free trial will allow access to the series.
Episode trailer: tinyurl.com/2p9ym4ap
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Buffy Pollock at 541-776-8784 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @orwritergal.