Alex the Survivor
They say that lightning never strikes twice. Thankfully kindness does!
Oh, how our hearts bottomed out when the pictures came through of Alex. A hapless sheep, who was burdened down by an abundance of wool, had been found by an abundance of kindness in the form of a kindly bushwalker.
Heading to the scene atop Mt Alexander (in central Victoria), those same hearts were heavy with thoughts of deja vu for when Baarack entered our lives. We knew the precarious edge on which his life teetered as his feeble form underwent the shock of the removal of his fleece and seeing the world for the first time in many a year.
Sadly, though, in Alex we found a being who was in an even worse state of health than dear Baarack. If that was at all possible. For slim pickings were the grazing opportunities in the area he had been found. So weak was he that he could not stand. Not even when assisted to do so, and struggle we did to find a passage in through his felt-like fleece to administer life-enhancing fluids.
Truth be told, too, we wondered at first blush with Alex: could his life even be saved, and would the kindest thing have been to let him pass from this world? And then we lifted the shroud of wool from his face and our eyes met, and in that instant it was so strikingly clear he wanted to live.
Sitting in the back of the van with our new friend with those crucial fluids now pumping new life into his withered form, it was as if a switch was suddenly turned on and Alex’s head rose as he looked about. His gaze found ours, and in that dim light we felt his fear for the unknowing of just where he had found himself.
For here before us was a prey animal so unaccustomed to humans, let alone their kindness, that every inch of his being was telling him to flee. Yet having to concede he could not. Once back at sanctuary the arduous task began to remove that fleece, sodden with rain, urine, twigs, bark, beetles and maggots. A fleece so matted and dense that at first it stubbornly refused to cede to the shears. But somehow it miraculously did. All 40 kg of it! And left in its whirring wake was sweet Alex.
With a warm jacket gently donned and the assistance of dear Chloe and Molly Brown, stateswomen sheep, enlisted, it was then over to dear Alex to make good on his “word”: he wanted to live. And, come sunrise the next day, he most certainly did – standing and stamping before us, hay bucket empty and tummy full, as deju vu descended once again.
With so many similarities between Baarack and Alex’s serendipitous finding of sanctuary coming to mind, not the least that both only did so by way of human kindness, we are struck by the ability of their pain and suffering to leap from their body to ours as empathy takes hold. And in doing so reaffirming our belief in the goodness of the human heart, which reveals itself in an uncompromising will to assist.
And so, over the coming days, weeks and months, we welcome the opportunity to witness Alex’s transformation – all made possible when kindness strikes twice.
When his wriggly little tail felt the sharp teeth of a predator, kindness brought him to safety.
The tiny chap who fortuitously and unwittingly exchanged the hand in life he had been dealt.