“All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us.” — Gandalf
A sage-like goat with a most handsome silver beard, head held high surveying his lot and then casting a sideward glance our way — this was our first impression of Gandalf as we arrived at the council pound to collect him.
His proud and satisfied look belied his grisly fate had our Kindness Van not passed through the gates moments earlier. “Dignified” and “majestic” were words that quickly leaped to mind to describe the grey buck with his impressive lion-like wild mane, but these words were quickly joined by “phew” and “oh so smelly” as our eyes began to tear up.
Billy goats are renowned for their odoriferous quality, so caused by their penchant (now, this is going to get a little murky) for spraying urine on their face, beards, front legs and chest. The odor is strong and musky and, unfortunately, lingers far longer than any foul smell should.
Impressive as it is to female goats at rut (mating season, which is late summer through winter), alas it most certainly will not enamour you to your friends. So don’t try getting it on your clothes. Scent glands near the horns of male goats also account for some of this smell.
Dispelling our fears that those horns were made for fighting, Gandalf has proved to be an amiable goat and a fast learner, too. He has quickly worked out the feeding regime and where he must head in order to receive his evening meal. Goats are indeed intelligent animals; they have been shown, using scientific testing, to solve and remember complicated tasks. This, in part, would explain their ability to survive in harsh environments. And they are worldly and wise, as is Gandalf.
The animals of this world present us daily with challenges: how we treat and respect them saying much more about we humans than the animals themselves. For with animals we have the opportunity to be amazing versions of ourselves, recognizing in these fellow creatures the capacity to feel fear, experience joy and drink the world in one day at a time. And when we do so we have the power to create the most magical fellowship of kindness that will ring the universe manifold.