Baby Goat With Rare Condition Inspires North Carolina Community and Earns the Name Miracle

Miracle the goat was born with her heart in her neck — a rare condition called Ectopia Cordis — but isn't letting the diagnosis stop her from enjoying life

Miracle the baby goat
Photo: Onnie Hull Photography

A North Carolina couple has named their baby goat "Miracle" after learning she was born with a rare condition that means she likely doesn't have long to live.

Miracle was born with her heart in her neck so close to the skin you can see and hear it beating. The baby goat's veterinarian told Amy and Kevin Register that Miracle has what's called Ectopia Cordis.

"They told us she has no ribs or chest plate and her heart is in her neck unprotected," Amy tells PEOPLE. The vet also explained that little is known about the condition, but it will likely greatly affect Miracle's lifespan since fatal complications could arise without warning.

The news hasn't stopped the Registers from falling in love with the goat. The couple has been bottle feeding Miracle since they brought her home last week and says she sleeps with them in bed — even cuddling with Bentley, their 110-pound goldendoodle.

"She's so loving. When I wake up, she has her neck nestled up to Amy's neck, and she loves to snuggle with our dog. She may have two days to two years, but we're gonna love her with everything we've got as long as we've got her," Kevin says.

Miracle the baby goat
Onnie Hull Photography

The story of how Miracle came to live with the Register family is something of a miracle in itself. The Registers moved from Raleigh to Mooresville in February 2020 and didn't know anyone in their new hometown.

A few weeks after moving, Amy's work was put on hold because of the pandemic, her mother passed away, and her son needed emergency brain surgery.

"We are normally very happy people, and I used to travel all over the world for work, and all of a sudden, we had all this time on our hands and had gone through so much, and we just needed something happy. We talked about it, and the next day my husband calls me out back, and there was a baby goat in the backyard. We'd never talked about a goat or a farm, but he came home with a goat," Amy explains.

That was Easter weekend 2020. "Happy" the new goat was barely home 24 hours when he made a run for it. "We posted on Nextdoor and asked our neighbors to help us find him. We didn't know our neighbors, and we didn't know anything about goats, but all of a sudden, all of these families in our community were walking in the streets with carrots and lettuce in their hands, trying to help us find Happy. Someone spotted him a mile from our house, but when they got close, he ran back into the woods," Amy says.

Miracle the baby goat
Onnie Hull Photography

Six hours into the search, they found Happy — standing in their backyard.

The couple says they learned goats don't like to be alone, so they got a second goat. Then they learned their two male goats might fight unless they brought a female goat into the mix. They now have ten goats, some chickens, a pig, and a rabbit. To spread the love, the Registers regularly invite people in the community to visit their bustling backyard.

The Registers welcomed Miracle into the group after one of the area farms where they bought some of their other goats called about a tiny newborn goat with a congenital disability who'd been rejected by its mother. Soon, the baby goat moved in and was given the name Miracle.

Kevin says his wife has never been happier: "She used to have a closet full of evening gowns and always get Botox and manicures and pedicures, and now she's happy with goat poop under her nails."

Miracle the baby goat
Onnie Hull Photography

Amy and Kevin aren't the only ones enamored by Miracle and her sweet attitude. Amy posted about Miracle on Nextdoor, a social networking service for neighborhoods, and says hundreds of people have responded in just a few days, and several have come in person to meet her.

"I put it out there that we have this new baby goat, and all she needs is love because we don't know how long we're going to have her, and the response has been amazing. It's amazing how a little bit of positivity in the world is contagious," she says

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