Pluto's time with us has been an underdog story of a different kind. We liked Huck and Yukon so we went back to the same lady and got their sister, and brought home Pluto too. He was cute, had his little elf ears and baby pudge. This photo shows his extremely awkward phase where his head was way too big for his body, he was short and stubby, and had some wiggles to work out.
After Pluto settled in with us It didn't take more than a couple walks to realize that Pluto was plain stubborn and unwilling. We also noticed that he had this increasing waddle of a walk and no length to his stride. Over time I worked with him less and less because the more I asked of him the less he would do. We would just butt heads and it was no longer worth my time.
I was looking to reduce the number of goats in my herd, and find the goats that weren't doing anything homes. This included Pluto, who at this point was a big, mean, loud, pasture potato. One moment we shared during this dark time of our relationship was when I had concern he was blocked with Urinary Calculi. I hadn't seen him urinate for a few hours and he was kicking at his belly. I was over my head in homework and it took most of my strength to drag him into the shop. I argued with him for quite a while that afternoon. When I was fed up with his "I won't" attitude I told him some really mean things, and coincidently he relieved himself. The bugger was just being difficult per his usual.
I had started doing weekly conditioning hikes with Huck and Yukon to prepare for the summer season and on a whim decided to bring Pluto. I have absolutely no idea what pushed me to make this choice. Driving only 5 minutes down the road we walked some of the pipeline trail. We were shocked... not a single complaint from him, no dragging, no pulling, nothing but a goat walking on a lead perfectly for miles. Convinced it was a one time phenomenon we brought Pluto with us the following week, and again he outperformed the other goats in strength, endurance, and manners. We were in awe, wondering how he was surpassing my Alpine crosses who get daily work and training.
On another whim we took him to Ollalie Meadows via the PCT, and once again he was nearly perfect. It was obvious he lacked trail experience when we would approach water crossing or any trail obstacles but he was never last in line to try. This was the day I took him off of the sale board and decided he was a part of the pack string, at least until further notice.
I don't know why Pluto's behavior changed but I do know that he works differently than the rest of my herd. I still haven't figured him out. Honestly he reminds me of a donkey, very independant, and cautious. The more you pull, the more resistance he gives. Somehow he has gone from the goat you don't want to work with to the goat that is fun and easy going. No more dragging him around, or pushing him out of the way. If you had seen our relationship 4 months ago it would be unrecognizable.
Something changed in him when Yukon passed away, between the herd dynamics, and how I interacted with them. In all honesty, I may have been blinded by having a favorite, Yukon. Pluto and Yukon were always battling for the top goat position and now that Pluto is for the most part unchallenged, he snuggles up and begs for ear rubs.