This is how I met Nate, chained in the back of a pick-up truck at a rest stop along Interstate 5.
Nate was unwanted by his previous caregivers because he liked jumping fences. I like to think he just disliked the husband who threatened to shoot and butcher him. That might make any rational goat a bit jumpy.
Nate never liked people. He was a goat’s goat through and through.
We learned the stories were true – Nate could jump fences. He could not survive his quarantine period without leaping over a 6’ fence and attempting to bond with the sanctuary goats. Despite our best efforts, Nate managed to find creative ways to escape his stall and isolation area.
So we gave up and organized an introduction day.
Nate took over the herd immediately. He would become their steadfast leader for the next four years.
And once he had his herd, he never jumped a fence to get away. He had found his place.
Nate lived at Animal Place for nearly four years. He always appeared healthy – we had no idea that a tumor was spreading inside his body. Like people, some nonhumans are more stoic than others. While another goat might cry and show us his pain, Nate kept it all inside. As a leader, he had to show the other goats all was well with the world.
We wish he hadn’t.
By the time he was showing signs of discomfort and labored breathing, it was too late.
Nate is buried at his home, alongside the other rescued animals who enjoyed a little slice of peace and joy at the sanctuary. He taught us that sometimes the only way to be a good leader, to live a good life is by taking a chance and leaping over that fence. He will be missed.