Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Farewell Dancy

My dearest Dancy Darlin’--

You were my favorite goat for so many reasons. You came into our lives three years ago as the fourth doe in our herd. We picked you up in Tennessee, from someone who didn’t appreciate your great temperament, your delicious milk and the beautiful babies you made. I paid only $200 for you, making you the cheapest goat I ever bought, but I wouldn’t have sold you for 10 times that amount. You were a wonderful milker, giving us lots of delicious milk for many months, and you were almost always a sweetheart on the milkstand. Whenever anyone walked into the pasture, you would always walk right up to say hello. I loved the way you moved your ears to let me know what you were thinking.

More than anything though, I loved the way you related to other goats. You were the herd queen, and everyone knew it. You were a wonderful mother to your babies, always taking excellent care of them and giving them your wonderful personality. It was hard for many people to believe that your babies were dam raised because they had the people-loving personalities of bottle babies. In 2004, it was Katherine's personal goal to milk you in the evening before you'd had a chance to walk over to the buck pen and let your boys nurse through the fence -- even when they were several months old and well past the age of weaning. You loved your babies so much! And I will forever be telling the story of how you were so in love with Bucky. Unlike most goats, who don’t care which buck mates them, you had your own ideas about who would sire your babies.

I’ll never forget the story Margaret told of the day you were in heat in 2004. When she let you out of your pasture, you ran to the buck pen, walked along the fence, and when you didn’t see Bucky, you headed for the barn. Margaret took your collar and started to lead you to the pen where Bucky was, and as soon as you saw him, you tore away from her and ran towards him at top speed! It was a scene from a love story!

I remember when you'd only been here for a few days, and I was late with the evening milking. I don't know how you got out of the pasture, but you walked right up to the back door and called me, as if to let me know I was late! When I walked outside with the milk bucket, you walked next to me back to the barn and hopped right up onto the milkstand. Last night, Margaret said you were calling to her as she left the barn. I wish she could have understood what you were saying.

This morning, Mike came into the bedroom shortly before 7 a.m. and said “Dancy’s dead.” We’ve talked of little else all day long. Your legacy will live on here forever. Your daughter, Carmen, captured my heart the day she was born and will always be with us. Last year, she gifted us with a beautiful daughter that is pure white, just like her grandma, and if I ever try to sell her, I’m sure my own daughters will revolt! Even though your daughter Odette is only a year old, I suspect she’ll make her mark on our herd too. She reminds me more of you every day. It’s starting to look like Carmen is going to follow in your footsteps and take top milking honors in our herd this year, and we are definitely keeping both her son and daughter from this freshening.

I hope we didn’t fail to do something that could have prevented your death. I wish I knew what I could have done to keep you with us, but Katherine says you're probably happy now because you're with Bucky again. We had looked forward to having you with us for many years to come, and we’ll never forget you, Dancy Darlin’.

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