Saturday, December 29, 2012

Farewell to my Barn Dog

Ivy arrived at my parent's horse barn while I was living in Maine. A couple of years later when I came back (via Massachusetts and Nevada), she was one of a group of goats my brother had.

I've never liked goats. But I noticed that the other goats picked on Ivy. When it was raining out, she would be outside, because they didn't let her in the goat house (which was big enough for everyone). When they did let her in, she was usually off by herself.

Having a soft spot in my heart for an underdog, I decided to help Ivy out, literally. I let her out of the goat pen and turned her into my "barn dog." She had the complete run of the barn, and she loved it. Ivy had her own pen, the same size as the other goat pen, but she didn't have to share. She never left, was usually underfoot, and could hear the tack room door open from yards away; and was somehow instantaneously in the tack room stealing grain.

Ivy in summer 2009, enjoying her job as barn dog

She loved peppermints and had a strange lack of fear when she thought there might be a peppermint. She's gone underneath all of my horse's bellies while they were on the cross ties to get to me quickly; in pursuit of the peppermint. On more than one occasion I saved her from being kicked by John when she decided hovering around his back legs while he was on the cross ties was okay and he really wasn't warning her off. He was, but I moved him.

Playing with Remi in October

This summer, a guy was running by and came into the barn to tell me the goat was really close to the road. I went outside with him and there was Ivy, in the horse pasture standing between Lilac and Lily. He looked at me and said, "I swear she was just up there." I told him I believed him, but she knew when someone was going to tell on her, I told him to have a good run and crinkled a peppermint wrapper and Ivy came bouncing back to the barn.

Ivy enjoying the grass up by the road this summer

The last photos I took of her were in November. I went for a ride and even though I didn't have any peppermints, she was convinced that I did. She followed me up the mounting block.

And was patiently waiting there when I came back from my ride. For her patience, I did give her a peppermint. She had me well trained.

A couple of weeks ago, she began acting weird. On Christmas, I knew it was bad when I gave her a half a scoop of grain (a horse size scoop - not a small goat scoop) and she didn't eat any of it. She played around with it a little and then went back to her house. We think she had a tumor or cancer of some sort, she went downhill fast and died last night. I'm going to miss having a shadow in the barn.