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February 6, 2017: Eulogy for Rover the Goat

Rover passed away yesterday afternoon. I went to let him in the kitchen addition, thinking he’d want to come inside. I found him in the goat shed. Pete returned from skiing—I told him Rover was dead. He went into the shed and said that Rover was still warm, and perhaps not dead.

We both went into the shed and were with Rover when he finally passed. It may have been that he waited until we were both with him before dying. As with Jenna, it was a slow death, but made peaceful by our presence. I don’t think that Rover wanted to die. He knew he was loved and really enjoyed his two weeks in the kitchen addition.

I purchased Rover and his buddy Ranger from Matt Shaw, a local goat dairy farmer, eight years ago. I’d made an agreement with a neighbor, who paid half the animal’s cost. I’d raise the two goats and he’d butcher them. This never came to be because Ranger and Rover soon learned to come to me when I called their names. I decided to keep them – as I told Pete you don’t off creatures that are that intelligent.

I planned on training Ranger and Rover to be pack goats. This never came to be. The horses and their training ended up taking more time than we expected. So Rover and Ranger became lawn ornaments.

Rover was a really healthy goat. When he was young he got into some fresh grass clippings and got bloat, excess gas in the rumen. I did not think he would live through this. We put a tube down his throat and poured a bit of bicarbonate down the hatch. He belched out the gas and recovered quickly.

Rover was not a standout goat in terms of his looks – he was chocolate brown with two devil-like eye stripes. And he was not a standout in terms of his agility. Ranger would leap up on things but Rover would stay down low. However, Rover was a standout goat in terms of his disposition. I’ve repeatedly told people that he loved me more than did any of the other animals. He liked nothing more than a good scratch behind the ears, and he loved having body work done. And like Ranger, he always came when called.

Rover had a mate, Peaches, who he shared with Ranger before the two were neutered. They had three offspring, one of whom was the spitting image of Rover.

I will always wonder if I did right by Rover. He was food obsessed and would open the horse tack room door and barge in there like a tank. This pissed the hell out of me more than once. He weighed close to 150 pounds and it was difficult getting him out of the small area and down the stairs. I wish that I’d never gotten mad at him, but quite often I did.

I do think that in the past few weeks that he brought out the better side of me, for which I will always be thankful. He so enjoyed being inside and being waited on hand and foot. I often spent time with him – the last few nights he was here I sat on the floor and rubbed his head and ears. He liked that.

Rover, in being sick, brought out my more creative side. I didn’t give the matter any thought, that is that I was documenting his illness. It actually began with my writing a poem about visiting with his grand-daughter, Mea. What Rover taught me, and what I conveyed in the goat poems is that goats, as do all animals have souls. And this has got me to thinking that souls are indicative of the fact that there is a higher power. And this higher power might be love.

Rest in Peace Rover – you will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Next: 38. 2/7/17: A Conversation with Ranger

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