Before I left for England and Italy, I gave Buddy some worming liquid and a big hug. Two weeks later, Joe drove up to the house to say he had not seen Buddy for three days. He was about 10 years old. His mother had died at about 8. When I counted the goats they were down to 10, and I thought Buddy might have died in a valiant battle against coyotes. On recounting the goats there were 14, so no losses. If anything an extra one. I cannot find him, or his body. But there is a bad smell near his shed which I cannot pin down in the long grass. Could I have killed him with the worming liquid? It was just routine - I never saw worms. But he had not had it before. Was he just old? Did he have heartworm? I wish I had been here to help. Could I, or a vet, have made a difference? According to Joe, he just stopped showing up. Was he injured?Buddy had the perennial smile of a sheepdog, which comes from the line of the mouth. It's hard not to respond with trust and affection, which generates more trust. I had often imagined truly befriending him, taking him back to the house one day. I worried it would ruin his connection to the goats. I always thought there was more time. As with so many things, that's not true. Perhaps it's better to say: there never more time. There are only actions, events, decisions. But that's not true either.
Today I was up with the goats. Lots of serious braying - male/male standoffs - with huge horns. Some residual coyote protection from these guys. Goodbye Buddy. I want to find your body, for closure. And then again, dear friend, I don't.