When Cate Battles and her husband, Chad Battles, were originally contacted about appearing on a new Discovery Plus show, she was doubtful anything would come of it. “I thought it was far-fetched,” says Battles, from her home base in Grants Pass. While Cate and Chad have built a social media following focused on their travels with their pet goat, Frankie, Battles didn’t think the couple were likely to be cast on the series, called “The Bond.”
• “The Bond” is streaming on Discovery Plus, which is offering some discounted deals, “just in time for Shark Week.” Verizon customers with select Unlimited plans can get up to 6 months of Discovery Plus for free.
“We’re too normal,” Battles says. “We live a pretty normal life.” However, people associated with “The Bond,” a four-episode Discovery Plus series that focuses on people and the relationships they form with animals, obviously didn’t share Battles’ opinion. After all, the couple has toured the country in a hand-painted, vintage Airstream trailer, with the charismatic Frankie along for the ride. Cate and Chad have shared photos and artwork reflecting their travels, on Instagram, Facebook and their own web site, https://www.argosyodyssey.com.
“We were on a road trip in January of 2021 when we were contacted via Instagram by someone affiliated with the show,” Battles recalls. Executive producers of “The Bond” include Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey, though Battles didn’t get the opportunity to meet the movie star and his wife and producing partner.
“We’re just some plebes from Oregon,” Battles jokes. “We’re not going to meet them, and that’s OK. The Downeys are huge animal lovers, so it’s no surprise they wanted to get behind this.”
Related: An Oregon couple and their goat, Frankie, are featured in new Discovery Plus series, ‘The Bond’
After interviews and conversations with other show producers and directors, the Battles, and Frankie, were cast in “The Bond.” And that’s how it came to be that a two-man film crew followed Cate, Chad, and Frankie as they set out on their Airstream trip through the West in June and July of 2021.
Viewers can watch the result in one of the episodes of “The Bond.” In the show, Cate and Chad talk about how, after Chad’s two children grew up and moved out, the couple sold the bar they owned in Asheville, North Carolina, sold their house, renovated an Airstream trailer, and hit the road.
After traveling for six months, the couple decided to settle down in Grants Pass, in 2017. “We loved the proximity to everything that we love,” says Battles. The couple enjoy nature, and being based in Grants Pass allowed them to visit the coast, mountains, hike through ancient forests, go skiing, and partake of other outdoors recreation without having to travel for very long.
“We’re on the road two or three months out of the year,” Battles says. As “The Bond” episode shows, the couple take Frankie along with them, as they go for hikes, watch sunsets, and soak up the scenery in stops in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
As viewers of “The Bond” will note, Frankie is a natural scene-stealer, with personality to burn. Battles says she always wanted to have a goat, and a friend gave her Frankie as a gift in 2014, when the goat was about six weeks old. Now, at age 8, Frankie is a seasoned traveler.
Frankie has been to about 25 states, Battles says, “from the East Coast to the West Coast, all through the deserts of the Southwest, Alpine mountains, beaches and caves.” Frankie is especially partial to the Oregon coast, Battles says. She loves the rock formations, and also enjoys licking salty seawater off the rocks. “They’re like a big salt lick,” Battles says.
As a half-Nigerian dwarf and half-pygmy goat, Frankie is an example of two miniature breeds. “Sometimes, she gets wider, if she’s eaten a lot,” Battles says. “She’s about 80 pounds, so she’s a curvy girl.”
In their episode of “The Bond,” the Battles carry the ashes of their late, much-loved dog, Maggie. Near the end of the episode, they stop at a beach on the Southern Oregon coast, which was one of Maggie’s favorite spots, to spread some of the dog’s ashes.
“Maggie was an incredible water dog,” Battles recalls. “Frankie and Maggie crossed multiple creeks and streams and all kinds of beaches.”
When they’re not traveling, Cate, a writer and artist, works out of a studio in downtown Grants Pass. Chad is a graphic designer for a winery in the Applegate Valley, and also has a tap-cleaning business, “which is really important in Oregon, since there are so many breweries,” Battles says. “You’ve got to keep the lines clean, and make sure the beer is coming out.”
The couple live in their Airstream on a two-acre fenced-in pasture, with a barn, just outside of Grants Pass. While fads for goat yoga and other trends might make people assume life with a goat is carefree, Battles says it’s important to be a responsible goat-owner.
“I encourage people to do some research about owning goats,” Battles says, to be a good steward of the land, and know where goats are allowed. “Goats require a lot of attention. Typically, goats are not supposed to be by themselves, so we make sure Frankie has playdates.”
The trickiest part of traveling with a goat, Battles says, is, “Our lives have to revolve around Frankie when we’re on the road. Unless you get a baby-sitter for her, you can’t go to a movie, you can’t go check out something in a National Park, if they’re not pet-friendly. You have to do your homework.”
The best part of traveling with a goat, however, is that “She enjoys it just as much as we do,” Battles says. “Goats in general have a passion for learning, and when we go somewhere, she wants to check things out. Chad and I are the same way.”
And as for being a star of a TV show, Frankie was pretty good with that, too. “I think she loved the attention,” Battles says. “She loved the extra treats.”
— Kristi Turnquist