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At our Sanctuary some animals exude a regal nobility, some are just ridiculously cute, but Madison was the class clown, a curious and sneaky trouble-maker, and a huge sweetheart all rolled into one. His personality won the heart of every goat and human who met him. He would saunter up to visitors with his shiny black coat and overbite, look into their eyes and then either lean against them for a “neck hug” or figure out that they’ve got food and find the shortest path to get it.

Volunteers would find themselves receiving a goat head-rub on their bottoms while they cleaned the goat barn and look back to find Madison wanting their affections. He loved attention and human interaction. But the past year was hard on our dear friend. He had been battling a number of medical problems for several years. On Jan 11, 2014, at Cornell Veterinary Hospital (where he was receiving the very best medical attention) we had to say goodbye to Madison. He was the ripe old age of 14.

Madison was originally rescued from a 4-H project, in which kids learn how to raise and care for a farm animal and then, in the last stage, send them off to auction — which usually ends in slaughter for meat consumption. Although spared this fate, he was bought by a family who kept him tied up on a cement pad and fed scraps for 4 – 5 long, lonely, life-on-the-end-of-a-chain years. Eventually he found his way to a sanctuary in PA, and then to us in early 2006 when that sanctuary closed. We will forever cherish the 8 years we had together with Madison. His memory will live on in our hearts forever and we will think of him with joy for all that he brought to so many lives.

Madison, you are and always will be a beloved friend. You truly were an animal ambassador who opened many hearts and minds to the plight of farmed animals, and you showed the world that they have a wide range of emotions and personalities. And that you valued your life (and fun) every bit as much as we value our own.

Photos below by Derek Goodwin.

Some days Madison would “knee walk” to alleviate the pain.


He was no stranger to the art of cuddling.


Ignoring photo-booth etiquette, Madison hogs the frame.


OK, we get it, he liked to cuddle!


Way to mess up a nice, romantic moment.