Saying goodbye to Waylon

February 3, 2020: This weekend, we said goodbye to one of the biggest personalities at our sanctuary – Waylon, the majestically bearded white goat who had been boarding at Heartland since August of 2018.

This will probably come as quite a surprise to most of you because until very recently, Waylon never acted his age – which was a ripe old 14. Over the past couple of weeks, Waylon lost weight and had multiple vet visits to treat his increasing health issues. He wasn’t getting better, and we knew our time with Waylon was coming to an end. His friend Opal became very close to him, snuggling with him at night and watching over him during the day. On Saturday, his family came to visit and he was so happy to see them and accept treats one last time. They made the incredibly compassionate and kind decision to release Waylon from his struggling body – a final act of love for their sweet boy. ❤️

When Waylon first arrived at Heartland, he had recently lost the last member of his goat herd and was very lonely. His parents were concerned about his depression, and wanted Waylon to enjoy the latter part of his life with other goats. Waylon immediately took to our green pastures, and loved being outside. He was an easy boarder. But then last winter, we noticed that Waylon suddenly became combative with his horns. He startled many people by ramming them and – his specialty – trying to hook their legs in-between his horns. We could not figure out why Waylon was so troubled, until getting some insight about his background from his wonderful human parents.

In his previous life, before he was taken in by his parents, Waylon had been kept in a small dark shed during the winters. He was also teased and tormented by an unkind person who would grab him by his horns and jerk him around because they thought it was funny. We soon realized that Waylon was acting out because he hated the hard winter days when he had to remain in his stall. He hated being limited by all the snow, which kept him from happily roaming and grazing. And he especially hated being grabbed by the horns, which we mistakenly did in an effort to protect ourselves. Pretty quickly though, Waylon went from being feared to being understood. His caretakers and friends stepped up to figure out what could be done. Volunteers and staff tried many horn protectors, from tennis balls to foam caps to finally – his infamous pool noodle. This changed everything! Not only could you spot Waylon from a mile away, but everyone felt safe.

When the weather warmed up, Waylon was back to his usual self. He enjoyed his sunny summer days and was a favorite of visitors and campers. He was loved and understood, and his family was grateful that we took the time to figure out Waylon.

We are so honored to have known and cared for this incredibly strong-willed and funny friend. He will be missed so dearly.

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