They’ve learned how to play

Our home’s previous owner had a favorite spot to dump ashes from the wood stove. After years of use, it got buried in pine needles. Cuzco and Nibbles found it. They dug it out. They now have a six-inch deep soot pit to lounge in, roll in, paw up clouds of black dust in, and tussle over. Nibbles likes to bury her head in it, which means I’ve had to take a wet washcloth to her face a few times, but she has to wait until Cuzco is done napping there because he takes up the whole thing.
Tonight I had the rare treat of watching Cuzco and Nibbles genuinely playing. I wish I’d had the camera! Nibbles had her head tucked in behind Cuzco’s horn while they wrestled and it was so cute! Cuzco was incredibly gentle with her. Nibbles would put her whole weight into trying to push him, and to my great astonishment, Cuzco actually took steps backward to let her “win” for a few minutes until he retook the ground he’d given. I’ve only seen him boss her (especially over dinner), and I’ve never seen him pretend to give her the upper hand, even for a second. They conked heads a few times, Cuzco being careful not to hit her too hard.

Then, it happened. Cuzco gave Nibbles an uppercut just as she came down from standing on her hind legs. His horn slipped right through her collar. Poor Nibbles! As the collar twisted around, her eyes bugged out and she started choking as she was lifted off her feet. Of course, I instantly dropped what I was doing and began to hustle, thinking “Cuzco, please don’t break her neck!” and “Drat, Nibbles can never wear a collar again!”

But then the most incredible thing happened. Cuzco very gently and very carefully lowered Nibbles back to the ground, staying perfectly calm, then deftly executed a tricky little maneuver involving a complicated head twist. The horn slid right out of the collar and Nibbles was free. All I could think is how lucky I am to have such a wise old goat.

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