If you knew him, you loved him. No ifs, ands, or buts. That was Arthur.
Officially, our 210-pound goat with the long, velvety ears was a beloved member of the Underfoots, the family of cross-species animals who freely roam the grounds. Unofficially, Arthur was Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s best ambassador and tour guide. Many of our guests have never met farmed animals, so when they arrived it was a little unnerving to see Arthur, far larger than a Great Dane, waiting expectantly for them to exit their car. But always, always, shock turned to joy under the influence of the loving, hilarious goat, who wanted nothing more than attention … and anything edible in one’s purse or pocket.
Arthur arrived in 2010 with 21 other goats removed from an animal hoarder. His best friend Stencil, who died this summer, was part of the same herd. One goat died the night the herd arrived when his kidneys ruptured from a horrifying parasite load. Another goat, our beloved Atlas, was permanently disabled due to prolonged neglect. So yes, Arthur knew pain and suffering. But how forgiving he was — how ready to erase the tape and begin anew with the love and opportunity offered him at Catskill Animal Sanctuary.
Arthur thrived as a member of the Underfoot Family. He broke into the kitchen regularly, often accompanied by a small posse, and buried his head in a feed bin. Caught in the act, he moved on to guests’ pockets and purses. Arthur once scored an entire apple pie the size of a cookie sheet. His free-range privileges were temporarily revoked as he suffered, just as a child does, in time-out. Like a mischievous child reluctant to listen to Mom, Arthur was very well acquainted with time-outs.
Arthur was a mischievous, gentle brute whom we loved for his joie de vivre. He was at his happiest on weekends when he was surrounded by people. Some of our friends are content to let tours come to them. But not Arthur, who would join up at the beginning and escort guests throughout their visit. It was as if he was saying, “Welcome to my home. Let me introduce you to my friends. You’ll love them like I do. But first, is that a muffin I smell in your purse?”
So long, friend.