At the Sanctuary we often treat sick or deteriorating animals, and we might witness an amazing recovery or a slow decline. But it’s very rare for an animal to pass suddenly. This was the case with Houdini, who fell ill a few weekends ago, and the vet subsequently discovered a large, inoperable mass — probably cancerous — pressing on his esophagus, which was preventing him from digesting or holding down food. 24 hours beforehand he’d been playing and head-butting other goats like no other 14-year-old goat ever could, with absolutely no sign of discomfort. Perhaps some of that playing dislodged a part of the tumor and caused the shift. Or perhaps as a “prey animal” he was masking his pain until it was unbearable. We’ll never know for sure.
Houdini got his name because he magically escaped from a slaughterhouse many years ago, but his greatest trick of all was speaking directly to the hearts of visitors. With his giant, majestically-curled horns Houdini could have been very dangerous to people, but instead he was ridiculously friendly, always among the first to say “hi” to a crowd, usually rubbing his head along someone’s thigh until proper attention was delivered. And, as you can see from the pictures, he would stare you right in the eye until you would submit — and be his lifelong friend. Houdini will be sorely missed by two-legged and four alike.