Yesterday Phil and I headed into Colorado City for a load of water. We were planning to take Finn and Sputnik with us to go for a walk around Lake Beckwith, but they were nowhere to be found. We wandered over the ridge and hollered, but the only goat to answer our call was old Cuzco! As the others didn’t seem inclined to make an appearance, and as it had been a very long time since Cuzco had gotten to go anywhere with us, we decided to take him instead.
The poor fellow isn’t doing so well these days. He’s been losing weight since the grass turned brown and he doesn’t seem to be finishing his meals lately. He had a very hard time climbing into the truck even though he was able to use the trailer as a step. The two-foot gap between the trailer toolbox and the truck tailgate seemed a canyon-wide leap to his weary old bones. Even the 15-minute drive was hard on him. He was panting when we got to the lake.
We made our way around slowly and stopped for a while to let Cuzco eat the soft green grass still lingering near the lake’s edge. Even walking is laborious these days, but he kept up and I could tell he was enjoying himself.
We took Cuzco to Lake Beckwith nearly every day when we lived in Colorado City. One old gentleman remembered and stopped to say hello. “I haven’t seen you in ages!” he exclaimed, not realizing that we moved almost six years ago. Cuzco hadn’t died or been sold or disappeared–he simply was no longer one of the lakeside regulars. I think his appearance brought a smile to the old neighborhood, and I’m sure the old neighborhood brought a smile to Cuzco. The walk brought me back to those days when Cuzco was in his prime.
A small gap between truck and trailer may be a poser now, but once upon a time Cuzco was a lean, mean, jumping bean. I once watched him clear a six-foot horse panel from a standstill. He didn’t even scramble at the top–he just cleared it. He’s been an amazing companion, and at almost fifteen years and more close calls than I can count, I feel fortunate he’s made it this long. I don’t know what this fall will hold for him, but we may need to make a Decision before long. Naturally I want Cuzco to live as long as possible, but not at the sacrifice of his dignity or his enjoyment of life. Until we make that Decision, we cherish the time we have left.