The Passing of a Prince

“Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
William Shakespeare, Hamlet


By Alexandra Caswell, Acton Shelter Manager

He was typically the first resident to greet you. No matter how hot the day or how harried the Los Angeles freeway traffic, you would be hard-pressed to enter the hacienda-style gates of our Southern California Shelter without stopping to admire, photograph, and approach the ever-charming and always regal Prince.

He thoroughly enjoyed the attention, of course. One of the most outgoing and friendliest goats of his herd, Prince relished human companionship. He loved Sunday tours and was especially patient with children, standing completely still while they threw their arms around him and gently touched his floppy ears and long horns. He even let children inspect his teeth! He was an exemplary ambassador for farm animals.

Prince goat at Farm SanctuaryPrince was not only adored by visitors but also deeply loved by shelter staff. Every day he would open the gate for caregivers at feeding time (sometimes letting his herd mates out!). He knew his name and would come running when a caregiver called him, especially if they had his favorite treats (strawberries, bananas and molasses). He loved the sun and spent most of his days on his big hillside, playing and soaking in the rays. His was a blissful existence.

But recent months were hard on our friend. Prince had caprine arthritic encephalitis (CAE), an incurable retrovirus that is transmitted to newborn goats through their mother’s milk. He was diagnosed in 2013. There is no cure for CAE, but we immediately started Prince on immune-supportive supplements, and eventually pain medications, to give him a fighting chance at a longer, more comfortable life. All of his medications and supplements were hidden in his favorite treats, and he would run up to us enthusiastically when it was treatment time.

Sadly, the CAE advanced much faster than we had expected, rapidly taking its toll on Prince’s knee joints over the last year. In the end, he lost the use of his left leg, and his pain became untreatable. Wishing to spare our friend any suffering, we made the heart-wrenching decision to say goodbye.

Prince goat at Farm SanctuaryIt was only four years ago that we said hello to Prince. Police officers who pulled over a car for speeding found the two-week-old Saanen stuffed in a bag inside. Prince was seized and brought to the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society. From there we welcomed him to the shelter.

Just as that tiny young goat was gently carried in his new caregivers’ arms when he arrived, so was he surrounded and held by his caregivers as our vet gently released him through euthanasia. Prince was unafraid and left us calmly. He will be missed every day, and our very short time with him will be cherished always.

We have so many stories of caring for and befriending this sweetheart. And we know so many of you do, too. Please share your thoughts and memories of Prince in the comments below.

After all, Prince was someone, not something.

25 thoughts on “The Passing of a Prince

  1. Such a beautiful story of grace and love. Blessed be little spirit. Thank you for giving him this life of love.

  2. I am so sorry to hear of Prince’s passing. He was lucky to have been able to spend his life with such wonderful, caring, compassionate people. Thank you for all that you do to provide these wonderful beings so very much love. You changed his entire world!

  3. What a lovely story and what a wonderful ambassador he was. Such a sad loss.I hope you are all able to hold on to your happy memories of him right now, to help you over the hurt.
    Thank you for all you did for this lovely and gentle creature who seemed to live up to all of the best thoughts his name brings to mind !


  4. I miss him terribly! Prince was one of the kindest, gentlest, and most beautiful beings I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I loved him with all my heart and looked forward to seeing him every time I visited the sanctuary. He will always be remembered with smiles, laughs, and memories filled with happiness. He truly changed hearts and minds, and saved more farm animals than we will ever know. All who met him thought twice about their diet changes, as he was an ambassador who encouraged humans to befriend farm animals instead of eat them. Prince was one of a kind and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to know, befriend, and love him. Rest in peace, Prince.

  5. Thank you, Alex, for that beautiful tribute to an amazing being. I feel blessed to have worked with Prince on health check days and feel heartbroken that he is now gone from this realm. Thanks to all the Farm Sanctuary staff for providing the absolute best life he could have had. Love you guys.

  6. Have a nice life in the Rainbow Land dear Prince it would have been nice to know you. <3 <3 <3

  7. Just very recently joined your blog so did not have the honor of ‘meeting’ Prince. That did not stop me from crying. Bless you for making his short life wonderful..I expect it wouldn’t have had a peaceful ending otherwise. What a wonderful guy he was..obvious from looking at his face. Thank you

  8. Oh so sorry to learn of Prince’s passing. He is a truly exceptional spirit and I am so glad I had the chance to know him a bit.

  9. So sorry for your loss. I’ve had many pet goats over the years and their love is everlasting and they are very loyal. Many blessings for all that you do for the furry creatures that you care for.

  10. Prince was hands down my favorite resident at Animal Acres. He was so silly and friendly and lovable. I feel so fortunate to have spent lots of time with him to have had my photo taken with him, considering his aversion to cameras. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful, loving eulogy and for all the love you gave him. <3

  11. I love this tribute to dear Prince who I so enjoyed visiting with every time I was at Farm Sanctuary. He was definitely my favorite. His passing has been so sad for all who had the pleasure of experiencing his gentle spirit and friendly disposition. I’m better for knowing him. I miss him.

  12. Thank you for posting this lovely tribute. I remember Prince well, and treasure my photos of him. He was so friendly and loving. Thank you for taking such great care of him, and enabling him to live out his life surround by those who loved him so very much. I love you Prince. Peace to all.

  13. so sorry for your loss, I read the story about Prince and looks like he was an exceptional little creature that all he had was love, everyone around him was very lucky to have him, blessed you all.

  14. We have approximately 8 pictures of sweet Prince from our visit on March 15, 2015 for my daughter’s 15th birthday. Hearing this sad news, made us all cry. What a beautiful, loving animal. So sorry for your loss, for our loss. What a lovely spirit he had <3. A beautiful and loving creature.

  15. So sad that Prince is no longer the major greeter, but so glad that he was there for his time and that so many have fond memories and stories and picture to share. May Prince truly rest in peace now.

  16. R.I.P. sweet Prince, i wish i would have met you, you were an adorable being as i can see and read…

  17. Although I did not know Prince I am saddened by your loss. I am always thrilled to hear such beautiful stories of animal rescues and so sad when they have to cross over that bridge. I am sure the 4 years that Prince spent with the caregivers and guests where the best he could have ever wished for. So sad it had to end so soon though. I wish that all animals could be as lucky as Prince though, so many live such short miserable lives and it is sickening. I am sure you will all miss Prince very much, but you have the joy of having known him, loved him and making his life the best it could have been. Thank all of you great people for saving him and all the others and making their lives so great. We need more farms like yours. I pray everyday that things change and people become more compassionate towards these beautiful creatures. God bless all of you. Prince you rest in peace and know you will live on in many hearts, we hope your are in a wonderful place.

  18. A beautiful good-bye to a beautiful goat. I loved his face–he always seemed to be smiling. Thank you for giving him such a good life, even though it was far too short. My condolences.

  19. I am touched and saddened by the story of Prince. I can sense the sweet soul he was though the tribute and his adorable photographs. I am sorry he is no longer greeting visitors at the gate but he now gets his turn to be greeted at the pearly gate. Thank you, Farm Sanctuary, for all you do for our animal friends. I always enjoy your stories – even though I cry at all of them!

  20. A beautiful tribute to a sweet soul. The video gave me tears. Bless him and all those he leaves behind. And thank you Farm Sanctuary for giving him the life he deserved.

  21. Although tears were falling as I read Prince’s story I feel
    privileged that I was able to learn about his life. I am so
    grateful that Farm Sanctuary gave this sweet soul such a happy
    life. In return he gave his unconditional love and brought so much
    joy. We will see Prince again every time we look into the trusting
    eyes of all the animals who just want to live and love and do no harm.
    Thank you Prince for teaching so many people about love and compassion.
    Thank you Farm Sanctuary for being love and compassion.

  22. I’m sorry he could not enjoy the wonderful life he was so fortunate to have had longer. At least you had him for awhile and he could spread his special brand of sunshine around to so many.