I fell in love with Billy. I knew I wanted to grow old with him.
He was just a kid when he came to me. I was told he was miniature. But he grew a beard, and then horns.
Billy lived with me for three years and every morning we'd go to the woods at the back of our property where he could browse the tempting lower branches of the trees.
The branches he could not reach I'd pull down and he'd rest his two front hooves on my arm, and eat. He did not like the rain and would cry, so I'd hurry to move him to shelter.
One Christmas he climbed on to the outdoor table and ate the Christmas lights. I have a dress that I'll keep forever because Billy ate the lining when it was drying on the clothesline.
He loved celery and I allowed him to eat it and his breath smelled so fresh. He once ate agapanthus and behaved like a goat with ADHD; he never ate that poisonous plant again.
I loved the way he ate the figs, rolling them around in his mouth, or the crunch of the fig branches that he loved to eat.
'One Christmas he climbed on to the outdoor table and ate the Christmas lights. I have a dress that I'll keep forever because Billy ate the lining when it was drying on the clothesline.'
But I live in a suburb and Billy was tied up and I knew goats were social animals and liked to be around their own kind. I also did not like that he had to be tied up, so I approached a friend to allow Billy to go to his land on the Parapara.
A few days later I visited Billy, and he climbed on to the back seat of my two-door car and I took my growing kid back to the city. He was intact, and the beauty of that strong acidic goat odour meant ants no longer frequented the house interior. But this kid was growing bigger and was too strong for me.
Plan B swung into action and I found a place for Billy on the Black Sheep Sanctuary in Otaki. King Billy was at home, and I visited him regularly. He had grown into a handsome goat and he always recognised me when I visited. I would treat myself and spend my birthday with him.
But it was two days before my birthday three years ago that I received the message that Billy had died in the night after he and two other goats were mistakenly fed tutu. The other two goats survived. For me Billy was a true GOAT — the Greatest Of All Time.