How Does a Landscaping Goat Work?

This herd clears foliage throughout the Seattle area.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Tammy Dunakin and Thinkstock.

This season on Working, we’re talking about animals with jobs.

For this week’s episode, we chatted with Tammy Dunakin of a Seattle-area business called Rent-a-Ruminant. The “ruminants” in question are goats, and Dunakin rents them out to clear unwanted plant life from properties throughout the region. As she tells us, they’ll happily munch away at everything from poison ivy to brambles. Dunakin leads us through a typical day in the life of these working animals, shares some moving stories about her own interactions with them, and tells us about how the herd’s many members interact with one another.

Then, in a Slate Plus extra, Dunakin discusses her efforts to franchise the Rent-a-Ruminant model, helping to take the business nationwide. If you’re a member, enjoy bonus segments from Working, plus other great podcast exclusives. Start your two-week free trial at

Previously in this series: How Does a Miniature Therapy Horse Work?

You can email us at

Podcast production by Benjamin Frisch.