One update since the last time I wrote is, unfortunately, a sad one. On Halloween morning I lost my wonderful and faithful Billy Goat, Dan (short for Dandelion... I name my goats after flowers). Born the same day as my first grandchild, and the last remaining sibling of a set of triplets, Dan, 9 years old, went very suddenly and unexpectedly.
Dan appeared to still be the picture of health. His weight was good, he was always the first one to the food at feeding time, he was very active and energetic, and he was faithfully doing his job with the Nannies that had just come in season. Everything was as normal as usual.
Then the night before Halloween, when I went to toss the goats some pear trimmings, Dan acted like he was really tired and didn't run for the food. He instead came over to the fence, looked up at me with weary eyes and gave me kisses. At my encouragement, he finally nibbled on some of the softer pears. My beautiful, energetic Dan had never acted like this before and I knew what was probably coming. I stayed up late keeping an eye on him, but I finally had to sleep for a few hours.
In the morning I rushed to get outside to check on Dan. But sadly, the leader of my small herd was gone. All the other goats slowly and quietly met me at the fence. They seemed so lost. Dan had instinctively gone into his little house, laid down, and went to sleep for the last time. It appears he probably had a heart attack or something of the like. My heart broke in two!
Not only were the other goats and me ultra attached to Dan, but so were several of my cats. It was heart wrenching to watch a couple of them nuzzle up to his neck and chest in an attempt to get him to wake up and play with them. One cat even perched herself on his neck, gave him a cat bath, then sat there on his shoulder for a long while in a protective stance. She was going to protect her best friend until he woke up. Oh, it was so sad!
My beautiful Dandelion was the most wonderful Billy Goat anyone could ask for! He got along well with other billies, yet let them firmly know that he was 'boss', occasionally getting a little too rough to get his point across if one of them tried to take the lead. He was gentle, loving and very protective of the nannies. He loved his ladies! During breeding season, nothing stopped him from getting his job done, not even cattle fencing .... he would go right through it (I still need to get a couple of spots repaired). And as for me, he was the most loving, caring, gentle 'farm friend' a person could ask for. He loved cuddles, hugs, kisses, and, best of all, back rubs (which he so often adorably begged for). Before he got too tall, I could ride him around the yard (yes, my feet still touch the ground, so no weight was on his back), and he let small kids ride on him, too. He would sit still for as long as I wanted to and tolerantly let me braid and play with is beard, lol. He had a long beard that I just loved messing with and he was so patient with me, never fussing or complaining at all. If I was out in the goat yard and needed something to lean on (such as to get a rock out of my shoe), he was there for me, standing still and firm as I leaned on him, never complaining or faltering. If I fell (and often times I do with all the arthritis in my legs), he was usually the first goat there, nudging me to see if I needed help getting up. He was one of the best, most loving and faithful work animals I have ever had!
I could never say enough positive things about my wonderful, beautiful Dandelion. There aren't proper words to express the value he was to me and my little farm. He was my faithful worker, protector, and loving friend. We love you Dan, and we will forever miss you! You have well earned your rest, rest peacefully, now.