HAVERHILL — Drivers and walkers making their way through the Highlands neighborhood couldn't help but stop and stare at Mill Brook Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.
It wasn't the 6-foot-tall grass that captured their attention, but rather the new landscapers hired to get the lawn in order that made heads turn.
Alan Aulson's Goats to Go didn't need much when they arrived at the park: A drink of water, a shady spot to crash when they needed a break, and they were ready to go.
For two days, Aulson's six animals chewed the overgrowth surrounding the city's new Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is under construction at the park. Aulson's company which offers the unique service is located in Georgetown and has been used by the city in the past, in one instance to eat away large amounts of poison ivy at the old Wood School.
Ralph Basiliere, chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission overseeing the memorial's construction, said the goats came to Haverhill to cut the lawn in an environmentally friendly way — while providing a novelty for locals.
"During this difficult time, this was a fun, whimsical way to bring smiles to our friends and neighbors," Basiliere said.
Aulson donated his services to the Vietnam Memorial Commission, bringing six of his farm's 100 goats to Haverhill free of charge.
To celebrate the visit to Haverhill, Aulson even named one of his unnamed goats "James J." in honor of Haverhill's own GOAT ("Greatest of All Time") — Mayor James J. Fiorentini. The mayor is in his ninth term as Haverhill's leader, a record for the city.
"These are myotonic goats — that's just a fancy name for fainting goats," Aulson told a small group of onlookers who gathered Tuesday before he led the goats into an area sectioned off by an electric fence for the goats to roam — and chew — freely. "Go home and Google it, you'll have a laugh."
A new monument in memory of Haverhill's 13 soldiers and Marines lost in the Vietnam War will be dedicated during a ceremony at the park in the fall, Basiliere said.
Also at the park will be educational stations made of granite and bronze plaques describing the draft and agent orange. A 13-foot obelisk will also be featured prominently as a dedication to Mill Brook Park, dedicating the park to all Vietnam veterans.