Out of Africa
At just three days old, the scrawny little hypothermic lamb we cradled in a heat blanket was far from out of the woods. His eyes made sleepy not through lack of it, but rather his body commencing to shut down.
Exhausted in form after having exhausted his body’s supply of adipose fat, also known as brown fat*, Africa’s condition was critical. Our thermometer’s inability to read his body temperature confirmed this.
No doubt too suffering hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar, glucose was administered to Africa’s almost lifeless form as he was gently placed into our incubator. Here it was not just its warmth keeping his body warm, but so too all of our love.
And slowly, over the ensuing hours, new life began to tingle through it.
And too ours, as the thought, “Yes. He’s going to make it,” raced through our hearts.
Every year, countless little lambs burst forth from the warm incubator that is their mother’s womb, into the frosty, in more ways than one, world. With a bottom line that can clearly sustain the lamb losses it does, one must ask whether, in this 21st century, this is the most humane way we should treat the other animals of this world.
From studying the bright little lamb before us today, the one we know as Africa, as he joyfully explores his new world, he encourages our kind to explore a new way of living. A far kinder one that sees compassion as our compass, not vested self-interest.
Indeed, many things come out of viewing life through Africa’s eyes, not the least that the seat of our humanity can be found in how we treat the other animals of this world.
*Adipose fat is a layer of brown fat that lambs are born with. Before their first feeding of colostrum from their mumma, it provides the energy the little ones need to regulate their body temperature. This fat is generally burned within the first five hours of life. Hence colostrum being received within this window of time is critical.
After a night so long it almost forgot to end, we caught some sleep, grabbed a snack and headed on our well-worn track to the barn.
There was no doubt that Berlin’s world was crumbling the day he and his three buddies were surrendered into our care.
With a haunting sadness in their eyes, Gracelyn and Elvira entered our world. And we theirs, as they searched their newfound digs for somewhere to land their gaze.
Lost in a world far, far bigger than himself was little Bahama. But then kindness found him.
Little Kokomo may have been down on his luck the day he was born, finding himself way down in a pile of mirky mud.
Words could not convey our shock when we went to our carpark to collect the little lamb we would soon name Bermuda, who was surrendered into our care after having been found the day before.
More than likely destined for backyard slaughter, the young Cedric ran for his life. And did so for several days in the off-leash dog park to which he had retreated.
Friend or freezer? Without even meeting the colourful chap we have named Tom Cruise, we knew the only role he should ever fill was the first.
At just one day old, teeny tiny Trapper John was diminutive in size yet formidable in impact, and everybody was talking about him.