10 min read

Dying Goat Helps Abused Rescue Friend Feel Welcome At Sanctuary

<p> <a href="http://www.hartsongranch.org"></a>Michele Kelly </p>

Saving Hornsby (as in Bruce)

The first week of June 2014, HartSong staff members and many of our volunteers, became worried about a goat living an isolated, lonely life in a small round pen with no food, water or shelter. Concerned, we went a'calling and were told that the goat was removed from the rest of the herd because he was to go to another home in a couple of days. Another week passed and still the goat was in the same predicament. Temperatures on that particular weekend were expected to climb to 105 degrees so again, we went a'calling. The owner of the goat finally "broke," confessing that the goat was mean, "hated" and she wished he would just die! Unwilling to leave this animal to suffer a horrible death, we offered to welcome him into our care. Five hundred dollars, she snapped, "He's worth $500." "No way," we stated. She then countered with, "Okay, how about $50." Once again, we stood our ground. Finally, she agreed to surrender him into our care.

Circumstances being what they were, we had to wait a couple of days before we could transfer the goat we have since named "Hornsby" onto the sanctuary grounds. Thankfully, the owner allowed us to move him out of his sun drenched enclosure and into a horse stall where at least, he would have cover from the sun. A couple of days later, we entered this "mean" goat's pen, gently placed ropes around his most magnificent horns and calmly walked Hornsby onto the grounds of HartSong Ranch.

Photo: Kathy Hart

On June 26, Hornsby was castrated. In that his sperm would still be viable for the next six to eight weeks, Hornsby needed to remain isolated from Chrissy and her daughter, Valentine, both Angora goats, and Nigel, a Nigerian Dwarf goat, living on the west side. Our plan was to move Hornsby in early August, but Hornsby remained on the east side of the property until the first week of November. Why you might ask? Well, it all had to do with Macho the mule. You see, Macho found Hornsby to be his new favorite "play toy"! On the day we attempted to move Hornsby to the west side, we managed to get him half way down the gravel road when out of nowhere, here comes Macho, at a full gallop. Now keep in mind that Macho doesn't have a mean bone in his body; all he really wanted to do was to greet the new sanctuary resident but Horsnby didn't quite see his "full speed ahead" approach as a friendly gesture so Hornsby turned on a dime and booked his way back to the safety of the east pasture where he remained until the early part of November 2014.

Photo: Kathy Hart

We tried repeatedly from August to November to hook lead ropes over his horns and walk him over to the west side but each time we approached him, off he would bound and there was absolutely no way to catch him. Running out of options, we decided the only way to accomplish the mission was to somehow corner him and we had to do it quickly because winter was approaching and Hornsby had no shelter on the east side of the property.

Sadly, on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 6, we discovered that Nigel, the Nigerian Dwarf goat and sanctuary resident for seven years, had passed away from bloat. No doubt, Nigel suffered with the painful symptoms during the nighttime hours. Had we known earlier that he was in distress; we might have been able to save him.

Photo: Kathy Hart

Here's where it gets very interesting. On Friday, the day after Nigel's death, we noticed that Hornsby was standing by the gate to the backyard; very odd, because to my knowledge Hornsby had never been there before. Never did he move from his favorite, sunny spot near the front gate. But yet, there he was standing at the back gate looking into the yard. Immediately, we took advantage of this unexpected good fortune and opened the gate. He walked right in. We then opened the gate from the backyard to the front yard. Again, he walked right in. Then, we opened the gate from the front yard to the goat/sheep enclosure and without a moment's hesitation, Hornsby walked in as though he owned the place. The whole process took no more than five minutes. Did Hornsby sense that he was now needed on the west side? Did sweet Nigel show him the way? Whatever the reason, I truly believe that Nigel had something to do with it. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Rest in Peace, sweet Nigel and thank you for pointing Hornsby in the right direction; your final gift to your earthly friends will never be forgotten.

In the short time we've had Hornsby in our care, we have come to know that he is not a "mean" goat at all! He is exceptionally friendly, watches faithfully over Chrissy and daughter Valentine, and he thoroughly enjoys all of the attention from sanctuary visitors. Life is good now for sweet Hornsby!

Photo: Michele Kelly

The moral of this story is that animals are a direct reflection of the way in which they are treated. Treat them with a mean, heavy hand and they will be mean, but treat them with kindness ... well, let me just say that once again, love and kindness trumped cruelty and neglect - big time! It works every time! Every life matters.