Ode to Goaty...UPDATE!!!
The Last Picture of Goaty
Many of you may have read the cute (and my first hub) story of Goaty our Yard Goat. He was quite the character. He made us smile every day. It got to the point where if we didn't feed him first before all three horses and our mini, he'd make such a ruckus we were afraid we'd wake the neighbors.
We build a new enclosure for him and his little comrade, Skittles, our mini horse. The enclosure in which he frequently escaped. He'd stay by Skittles and our dogs' kennel. Never really venturing too far. I was on the phone with my best friend, Elise, when I looked out and he was in the pasture with the big horses. They were very very curious about this strange little animal who had wandered into their pasture. He didn't flinch as they surrounded and sniffed him. I thought it comical that he was able to defy the electrical current running through the barb wire of the fencing. But we're talking about Goaty here. Nothing seemed to bother him.
Joe (my fiance) thought he'd found the part of the fencing in which Goaty was escaping for his daily escapades. All the while Joe was fixing the fencing, Goaty was in his face, in his pockets, trying to get his smokes (Yeeeeeesssss, he loved cigarettes too...not smoking them, just eating them). He'd escape and munch premium horse hay out of a barrel which was only about 20 feet from the horses. ALL while the horses looked on. He'd occasionally look up and stop chewing as if to say "is there something I can help you all with guys? If not, I'll just keep doin' what I'm doin' and right now that IS eating YOUR food." My "big" boys looked on in horror, envy and amazement as he'd plow threw about 1/2 bale in the morning BEFORE the a.m. feeding.
This a.m. was different. It was sunny, yet frost covered the ground. Joe came in quiet and continued to look out the window. I asked him a question for which I don't remember but he said "I'm most concerned because Goaty is gone." It is not like Goaty to leave his "herd". I sprung into action, got my riding gear on and asked Joe to go and get Jack, my trusty horse companion. I was going to scour the corn field which had not been harvested. Surely, both Joe and I thought, he's eating his way 2 miles to the east through the corn field.
I geared up Jack and told him we were on a mission to find Goaty. He always seems to know when it's work and not play or a casual ride. The previous day we pounded a cross into the ground by the pasture where Ben was laid to rest exactly one year earlier (see Hub on that if interested). I noticed a pile of rubbish the folks that lived here before left. I avoided that because I didn't want Jack to hurt himself. Just looked like a pile of boxes to us...but you never know.
We navigated through the corn stalks all the while I'm getting slapped in the face with these stalks that stood nearly 6 feet tall. Jack was a champ, he dealt with it all....occasionally grabbing a snack from one of the stalks. I called "Goaty, Goaty, Goaty", not like he'd respond, but I hoped. I hoped I'd see him gleefully munching on corn and fooling us as he normally did. Meanwhile, Joe took the truck up the road and talked to all the neighbors and walked our land on foot. Up and down all the rows I went as far as I thought he'd have gone. I was on probably about 10 acres of corn which had not been harvested yet. Corn growers don't necessarily appreciate your riding horse back through their unharvested corn since you take down about every row you pass as you walk by on a horse as wide as Jack.
Joe assured me Goaty would be back....he has to to get water, right? We continued to look out the window and to walk our land all day. Joe went out to work with his dogs while I stayed home working. For whatever reason, I had a strong instinct to look out the window. I saw two of my big horses and my mini gazing out toward Ben's grave site (hubs on that if you'd like to read them). I thought "there is something there....they are telling me that." I grabbed my coat and went out to where they were looking.
I turned the corner of our unattached garage expecting (praying, hoping) to see my little silly monkey eating happily on the side as always. That is not what I saw. I saw the lifeless body of my little monkey laying about 50 feet away. I ran down to him to see that he'd already passed...and from what, I'm not sure at that point. I run into the house and call Joe who was about to put fliers up all over town on his disappearance. I said "I found him and it isn't good." Of course, Joe couldn't believe it and I said "ya, he's gone for sure." I then called my brother who'd owned goats in the past and asked if they could die of "bloat" like horses to....by eating too much. I described the situation and he said "Kim, it really sounds like poison to me if he died right by that rubbish pile." He continued to ask questions like "was he fine last night, when's the last you saw him" , etc. I saw him the day before playing with the big horses. Joe put him in his pen last night and he was fine.
Bottom line is there was some poison in that rubbish that we didn't even know was there which has poisoned Goaty. My brother solaced me by saying if it were poison, he didn't suffer long. Our guess is he came back home to pass so we would find him and not have to worry about him any longer. This is/was also our "heads up" on why many many of our barn cats have died or disappeared without any reason this summer. I always attributed it to them haven eaten a mouse, rat or whatever that had already been poisoned. I NEVER EVER thought that poison was on our land. What if our children had gotten into it??? Who throws rubbish on their land like barbarians. Rubbish which contains poisonous matter no less, and does not tell anyone???? The previous land owners THAT'S WHO.
I found Goaty, I called Joe. It was time to let Skittles, his little pal say good bye. They have every right for closure that we do. I put a lead on my little guy who only stands 24" tall and lead him out to Goaty. He sniffed around for a moment, then came upon his lifeless pal.
The next thing that happened, I've never experienced in my life. Skitt licked and kissed Goaty's face for several minutes before "telling" me he was done saying good bye and was ready to go back to his space. So, for you non-believers that animals have souls, personalities or feelings.....my animals are living proof. I've seen many deaths on my farm this year and we cannot forget about the little ones and how they must feel when their pals leave them alone. So for you disbelievers, I stand here alone challenging you, as I have seen some of the most spiritual (and I'm not talking God, or whomever you do or do not believe in) events happen in the animals that are left behind by their best friends.
Tomorrow we will bury our little yard Goaty and we will douse the rubbish with gasoline and burn it until it is nothing but ashes. That is the best we can do at this point for our animals and our children. What would you do?
This one is for you Goaty....our little YARD GOAT. You have provided us with many smiles and many laughs and now we will give back those smiles and laughs to another baby like you. One who needs our love just as you gave to us.
Sleep well my little guy, we are always here, always right by.
UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!
After several days of searching for a goat for Skittles as he has been sad since Goaty left him, we were unsuccessful. Joe mentioned one day, that about 2 miles away was a goat farmer who he believed to have smaller goats than what Goaty was. Joe's daughter, Nicole, and I took the chance and went to that farmers house yesterday. I was met by a woman about my age and her daughter who was only a few years older than Nicole. I told her the story and said I was looking for a companion goat for my miniature horse. Before I could even get the words out of my mouth, she gaveme a big grin and said "I have EXACTLY what you are looking for". She described to me this little guy that someone just "dumped" into her herd one night to basically fend for himself. He was tiny and being picked on by all the other goats. They weren't quite sure what to do with him. I knelt down and he came running right up to me. I said "I'll take him". We ran home, got a dog kennel for his transport hom. He is now living comfortably in Goaty's old house and hangin' with his new comrade Skitt. I believe Goaty's passing was for the purpose of "saving" this little guy who so desperately needed a new home where he would be loved, appreciated and not picked on. He found it here. Thanks, Goaty, for bringing this little guy to us!! In addition, Meg (the girl who came out of the house with her mother), came home with us and stayed all afternoon playing. She said she was lonely alot because she had no friends around here....as is the case with Joe's girls. Now, we've not only got a new pal for Skitt....but we've also gained some new human friends as well.