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Sir Tripod Goat was born with a crippling condition to his rear hip so has never been able to straighten his hind leg, or put it on the ground. He has horrible feet because of it, and since he doesn't walk much his toes tend to grown poorly. He has always been one to hang out away from the crowd, and even prefers his own company-but I think that is mainly due to the fact he can't easily defend himself or stay upright if someone knocks him, as goats do in play and posturing.
Tripod is never one to make a fuss, or complain. Even with what is probably sometimes painful condition depending also on the weather, he always is calm, and dignified. To forge on as he does, I can call him a little hero, knowing how hard it is to do simple things when one is not up to par that day. More and more, his knee pads are cracking, and I take great care to watch them and step in at any signs of infection. One of my old vets in Oregon said, once their pads start cracking all the time, it can become the beginning of the end. But. we are far from that, he is still relatively young, and strong in all other regards. His condition will play a role in his senior years though. Then again, look what Old Victor went though, or Stevie-nobody ever thought they'd last that long.
Over the last few years, I've tried different living arrangements for him. In Oregon, I ended up putting him in the hay barn, where he spent his days on maypoles, alone, with Scooby going him at night. It helps him sit comfortably to have a mound of something do go down on, and helps him get upright more easily. Once here in Maine, I put him with the once younger piglets who left him alone but as they grew, as pigs are known to do, the pigs push with their heads to get you out of the way of their feed, so it became more difficult for him. At that time, Scooby Keith was still with us [sigh] and the two of them became bed mates in the interior barn. When Opie and Rosie came along, they all seemed pretty well suited for each other.
I am always happy to see him get up and go outside. He doesn't last long, since he has to watch out for the youngsters pushing him from food. I put him and Opie and Rosie in a separate area at night, for his own peace of mind. I hope to build a small shed in the apple area so he and his buddies can hang there most of the summer and fall.
Tripod has opened up a lot emotionally too. Imagine, if you got sent to live at different places, and even if you were treated okay, you might think,
Why get involved, I'll only be leaving again.
I have moments with him, and even did in Oregon, where I sit with him and I can tell he recognizes me as a leader, and a consistent source of help. It gives him confidence to share affection and communion with me and even some of the other animals.
It's the best I can do for him-shelter, safety, food and water, and a consistent presence so he knows,
It will be okay, she will always come out and help me.