Culture Notes from Goats

I am a fan of mini things. Although I am not Japanese, my affinity for the compact in everything from cars and housing to animals and writing makes me a sucker for the style of this island, where the beds are folded into closets and pocket size editions of books are printed for subway reading. But recently I discovered that the cutest in compacts comes from a continent where things are often on a grand scale.

In Africa, everything is more everything than other places -- the heat is hotter, the colors brighter, the diseases more deadly, the celebrations more lively, and the kids are just the cutest. Meet Coco, the Nigerian dwarf goat, and hear the virtues of her kind extolled. Best little milkers for their size, tiny fonts of cream to bless more coffees than you could dream of drinking, and twice the laughs in half the space.

Coco is named for the designer, Chanel, and is not technically Nigerian -- from an immigration perspective, she is American, born and bred in Bonny Doon, California, by a charming homeschooled teenager with veterinary aspirations who named her Cocoa after the hot chocolate. But this is an international goat with a stylish coat, always dressed in her best and with all the charm West Africans are known to display; she is gracious about greeting, giving and receiving, and only angers when a friend goes away.