After almost a week away, Jacob the dog came back. We woke up to his smiling face first thing Sunday morning, but this time he’d worn out his welcome. As we were doing morning chores, we found that sure enough, the dog had disinterred the remains of the dead goat again, and the donkey to boot. I felt as if we were in a black and white comedy movie – I could imagine us as inept criminal characters, scurrying to bury our victim, while the film plays faster than life and the jangle of banjos accompanies our bumbling plight. With the cops on our tails, we hide the body, trying to cover up the evidence of our crime, only to have the dog dig it up, time and again. If I weren’t so frustrated by the situation, I’d be laughing.

Last week, when we repeatedly buried the goat, it was still recognizably Jackson’s mother. This time, the body was something else entirely. Her face and legs were mostly gone. The smell was awful. We needed to put the goat to rest once and for all, but how? There was no way to move her body to a new site, and her final resting place, at the bottom of a deep hole and buried in sand, was obviously inadequate. To make matters worse, the donkey who’d died the day before her was buried in the same place, and the dog had found them both. After a quick pow-wow, we decided on a strategy. We’d bury her deep in sand, lay strong wire mesh fencing overtop, and weight it down with rocks to keep Jacob from getting under or around it. Ellen covered the goat and donkey with a thick layer of sand, while I went with another volunteer, Sami, to fetch the two heavy six-meter lengths of fencing.

Sami is a nice guy, but painfully slow at everything he does. I decided that rather than walking the weighty building material at a snail’s pace down the driveway to the animal field, we should tie it up into a cylinder, then roll it down the hill. It took a bit of time to explain the plan to Sami, but soon we got the fencing tied to my satisfaction and we were ready to roll. Sami took the wheel first. He pushed it a meter, stopped it, and adjusted the direction. He let it roll a moment, stopped it, adjusted again. Soon it had been five minutes and we’d gone less than ten meters. I was getting irritated.

I took the roll of mesh off Sami’s hands and pulled it toward myself, while running backwards. The material rolled a solid fifteen meters before I stopped it. I aimed it further down the driveway and gave it another good start, and caught it again after fifteen meters. Sami tried again. He let it roll about two meters before stopping to adjust its direction again. I called to him (okay, maybe I yelled at him) to let it roll faster. He looked at me, then gave the fence roll a giant shove, which sent it careening down the cliff off the side of the driveway. It raced toward the horses, who bolted in panic in the direction of the deep open hole and Ellen. Images of my sister trampled, being crushed under a fallen horse, and the horses breaking their legs as they lept across the open pit, into the fish pond, or off one of the many cliffs, flashed through my mind as the roll of fencing sped toward the animals. I finally let out the breath I hadn’t known I was holding when the roll stopped when it hit the fence. Sami grinned at me. “I was curious.”

Not the goat - this was the horse that fell off the cliff. You don't want to see a picture of the goat, and I didn't want to take it.

Not the goat – this was the horse that fell off the cliff. You don’t want to see a picture of the goat, and I didn’t want to take it.

A few minutes later, we had the fencing laid on top of the goat and donkey’s graves, and we started to make the burial site an impenetrable fortress. We gathered about sixty large rocks, as big as we could roll or carry, and surrounded the entire two by six meter area with stones holding the wire down. We spent two hours on the project, digging sand and hauling large stones in the heat of the ecuatorial morning, before we were satisfied with our work. I fervently hope that this animal graveyard will remain free of scavengers, and that Jackson’s mother Anise and the donkey will finally be able to rest in peace. I do not want to bury this damned animal again.

Baby goats, who know nothing about Anise's body buried only a few meters away from their pen. I hope we can keep it that way.

Baby goats, who know nothing about Anise’s body buried only a few meters away from their pen. I hope we can keep it that way.

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