David Allen, 9, surveyed the damage: the bruise on his temple, the skinned knee of his classmate and the overturned cooler lying in the dirt. David was visibly angry and said he could not forgive the culprit.

Even if she was a goat.

"Casey, don't be bad!" he said sternly to the Boer-cross doe, trying to calm her.

With less than two minutes before the start of the 4-H goat show at the Calvert County Fair on Thursday, David didn't know what to do. Casey seemed possessed, bucking and thrashing around the livestock ring.

"I'm afraid she'll drag me through this place," he said.

Earlier in the day, David said he was confident his goat would take first place in the novice fitting and showing event. He had spent months trimming her hooves, clipping hair and applying animal shampoo to transform her into a prize-winning goat.

But the doe's sudden tantrum threatened a year of preparation.

David's parents expressed regret that they let their son enter the wrong goat in the competition.

"Why didn't we pick Lois?" said Doug Allen, a software engineer, referring to one of his son's more docile goats. In fact, his wife, Susan, did enter Lois. But in the hours before the 6 p.m. start of the event, David switched animals.

Of the 40 animals that the Allens have on their St. Leonard farm, Casey is David's favorite. When he had to go to the hospital last year because of appendicitis, she was the one he always asked about. When he returned home, his parents let him play with her on the porch.

"He loves her to death," Doug said.

What's so special about the 11/2-year-old doe?

"Once she saved my life, and that'll do it," David said matter-of-factly.

He recounted the time that Rock, an aggressive ram, tried to throw him down a hill. Casey charged against Rock and prevented him from hurting David. He called her his hero.

But as David trotted into the livestock show ring, the only thing on his mind was winning. He seemed unfazed by the competition: three girls and one boy, ages 9 to 13. Dressed in a crisp white shirt, khaki pants and green 4-H bolo tie, David appeared confident.

"Show me where the loins are," the judge, Marbeth Raley, said.

David responded correctly, pointing at the top rear portion of the animal.

Raley nodded and David's parents looked encouraged. The response of the 4-Her is a significant part of the judging. Maybe David can win, they were thinking.

But then Casey threw a fit. She dragged David forward, backward and side to side. He looked to his parents as the goat pulled him along his heels.

"Hold her!" Raley commanded. David attempted to follow the judge's instruction, for the most part without success.

As David struggled with his goat, Raley declared the winner: Kristen O'Donnell, 13. She then picked Philip Kenlon, Lauren Barber and Sarah Manning as second, third and fourth.

Finally, she directed David to the fifth-place spot.

"It's just a show," she whispered to him as he marched to his destination.

"I know, I know," he said later. "I'm just a little upset at Casey."

David Allen has a hard time getting Casey to stop misbehaving in competition at the Calvert County Fair.