My old goat Lulu is failing. Although she's been thin and shabby all summer, her appetite has remained voracious, until the past couple of days. Now she has taken to sitting in a corner and ignoring her grain. Her spine is sharp, her attitude indifferent. She has never been a cuddler: she's always hated to be petted, so there's nothing much I can do to make her final days more cheerful. I am useless, as she has never failed to remind me during all the years of her life.
Lulu does not have a charming personality, but she is the last goat I will ever own, so I am sad, both for the sake of our flawed relationship and in the knowledge that my years as a livestock farmer are drawing to a close. Sad does not mean broken-hearted: I am also ready to imagine a freer life for Tom and myself. I do wish, though, that this goat and I had forged a friendship. She's unusual in her reticence; goats in general are lively and sociable. But like humans, there are always a few who turn away, and Lulu is one.
Ah, well. We take what we get, do we not? I will go outside this morning and offer Lulu water and grain and hay, and she will most likely ignore me. Or she will be dead, and I will have to dig a hole. Or she will have revived temporarily and be standing beside her feeder glowering at me. I'd better get to it.