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  • Writer's pictureConstance Wilmoth

Caprine Craziness continued...

My dreams of having a lovable, snugly goat kid were dashed as I chased after Buttercup down a slippery slope. I picked the most beautiful kid out of the herd, but apparently also the wildest. After much running from human and goat we caught the desired kid and checked her over and decided to take her home with us. I was the proud owner of my very first Nigerian dwarf. In my excitement I failed to take the personality of my new doe into consideration, although she was confimationally correct and beautiful in her color patterns she had no interest in human touch. I spent countless hours simply sitting in her stall, and finally after about eight months she started to become the Buttercup I would know and love for the next 13 years. She became a fixture in my family and really became our dog! We took her camping, trail riding, hiking and she was anywhere we were on the property. She would regularly be found basking in the sun or eating apples from our apple tree.

One particular memory is from 2008 when I was at a 4-H horse camp, We were camping in our horse trailer that had living quarters, but I wanted to stay with my friend and goat, so Ashley and I slept on cots in the back of the horse trailer. Most of the night Buttercup cuddled with me, but as dawn broke, Buttercup couldn't help her bladder and peed right on my sleeping bag!

We went on to show at the PA farm show from 2007 until 2017. She was the first Nigerian Dwarf entered into the farm show and was featured on the cover of the Goat magazine. We showed at several ADGA, 4-H and fair shows, where we called her the eliminator. She was a showmanship machine for me, but refused to allow anyone else to touch her back legs! In 2008 at the regional 4-H goat show we switched goats in Sr. showmanship as directed by the judge, when I looked over the young man holding Buttercup had brown streaks all over his shirt from her rearing up on him, and she eventually got loose from him!

Buttercup made her mark on many people and was truly an ambassador for goats. Many people decided to get Nigeran Dwarves and goats in general after meeting her. I always wanted to breed Buttercup, but my parents were strongly against it. Sadly, life got in the way, I went away to college got my first job, and by the time I saved up enough money to buy my own farm Buttercup was elderly and unable to be bred. I did get to love and snuggle Buttercup in her golden years, but the last year of her life she struggled with arthritis, polio and breathing difficulty. On February 16th of 2018 my parents called me and said I needed to come immediately. Buttercup had gone down overnight and could not get up. I drove to my parents house and decided it was best to have her put down. At the ripe old age of 13, I held her and loved her for the last hour of her life and I was with her as I watched the last breath exit her body. We took her and buried her as a family in a grave on the land. Animals leave hoofprints on our hearts and forever change who we are for the better.

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