17 June 2012

Magnus' Dream Job

He was just a baby when he came to us.
Magnus loves to headbutt things.  The fence, rocks, unsuspecting shins, hollyhocks, trees, passing cars within his reach, the neighbor's dogs . . . he isn't picky.  He used to challenge his twin brother to playful duels but after Cardigan's untimely death, he turned to other sources for entertainment.

He wasn't always as quick to ram things as he is now.  Magnus and Evelyn used to be best friends.  See?
But, just like people, animals grow up too.  Ramming is a normal part of life for a maturing young Shetland buck.  Sometimes it absolutely is meant aggressively but more often than not, it's for fun or to say, "Hey," though it's usually too hard for people's legs.  I got the brunt of an amiable swipe once after Magnus really learned to hook with his horns and it took months for my shin not to be tender.

After our return, Magnus spent much of his time harnessed on a line to eat down the weeds where we needed him to.  The girls, my mother and I went out to feed the horses early one morning and Evie came running to catch up after checking on her beloved hens.  I turned my back for a moment and she stepped just within Magnus' reach.  The next thing she knew, she'd been knocked to the ground and Magnus was well aware he was in trouble.  Though he'd meant his gesture to be friendly, it was a tad too rough.  He took two steps back while Evelyn sobbed.
I put up an ad for Magnus and a few days later I was contacted by a man interested in buying him for breeding.  Though he's considered livestock and agricultural animals change hands all the time, all of a sudden, I felt conflicted..  Each pet I've ever owned lived a long, happy life and were eventually buried with great tenderness when the time came.  Magnus was the first I'd ever put up for sale.

I told my mother of my doubts when she reminded me of Evelyn's last encounter with Magnus.  I joked that it seemed to be a right of passage for farm kids to be knocked down a time or two by a ram.  My mom wasn't amused.
"I'm almost sad to see you go," I lied as he was loaded into the back of the man's truck.  Watching him drive away, I didn't bother to slow my tears.  I was terribly upset to see him go.  Jack grabbed my hand and said he didn't know why but he was a bit distraught because he'd gotten quite attached to Magnus too.  When he wasn't being a dork and trying his hardest to escape, he was pretty entertaining and useful.
The happy part of the story is that at least Magnus went to his dream job.  Instead of becoming another person's lawn ornament or weed eater or worse, someone's dinner, he gets to run with ten beautiful ewes, some Shetland like him and the rest Dorsets.  I count it an incredible blessing that he went to a great home.
I just hope there's something there for him to headbutt.

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