To say Alaska, Berlin, Lisbon and Baja were in terrible shape when surrendered into our care is an understatement. Coming closer to a more accurate description is they are amongst the sickest little lambs we have met.
Cold, undernourished and with advanced joint ill (the debilitating bacterial condition that lodges menacingly in the immature joints of immune-compromised lambs), the little ones had clearly struggled for many a day.
Warming their bodies and their spirits – with heat lamps, teddy bears, sweet music, nutritious formula and human kindness – became our first charter. Whilst intensive healthcare regimes were established to get our new friends into the best shape possible.
Their daily weight gains have delighted us, as the scales have now tipped in the favour of Lisbon and Baja. But it is wee little Alaska and his brave buddy, Berlin, who are still causing us great concern.
Alaska, the smallest of the quartet, was so weak upon arrival he could not stand. However, in the last few days he has managed to get those adorable little back legs of his to heed his will, if only for a few short moments. His pitiful attempts to suckle, that had necessitated tube-feeding, were last evening overtaken by a fervour that says his determination to live is still intact.
Berlin too is struggling, although he is able to stand and navigate his way in the world; yet for reasons that still elude us and veterinary science, he is refusing to drink. Each time we tube-feed the little guy, a sense overwhelming becomes us that is difficult to put into words yet is something that everyone in such a position would feel, knowing that their actions are the only thing that is sustaining their charge’s life.
And it is in that moment, we are reminded of just how much power we humans have over the animals of this world. Shaping their lives daily, either remotely or directly, by the choices we make. Nonetheless, too, it is in those bittersweet moments, when we see firsthand the impacts we can have on animals, that we realise their uniqueness and sheer vulnerability, how deserving of a life worth living they are, but moreover in the ways that matter most, they are beings of emotion, just like us.
It is then not an impossible question to ask what justifiable reason our society has to cause them to suffer, and to forget who they are. And as these thoughts come flooding through our heart and mind, there can be no better imperative to think of the shadows we cast over the lives of so many animals, landing us at the irrevocable conclusion it is time to shape a kinder world for them.
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.