Edgar’s Mission Passport
Margaret & Manilla
Mother & Daughter
12th November 2023
Seeing the EM van coming
Resilience & epic courage
Certified true likeness
Margaret & Manilla’s story

When You Just Do Not Know What to Do

Updated December 7, 2023

As a young first-time mum, having barely hit puberty, Margaret found herself in the direst of situations. Recently having given birth, and suffering a life-threatening prolapse, she did not know what to do.

Confused and exhausted, and with pain raging through every inch of her dear body, she tried to make sense of the world. Given what this poor being had endured, it came as no surprise that her maternal instincts too had suffered a bruising.

If Margaret were a human, the interventions to assist her would be many, and so too the compassion coming forth to surround her. But Margaret is a sheep.

At around 12 months of age, her bodyweight indicated that a pregnancy for her was a burden she should not have been forced to endure. Her lack-lustre breasts, which could not provide for her baby, were further confirmation of this.

Called in for assistance by the kind-hearted human on whose property Margaret and her flock had lived, we were greeted by the most distressing of sights – dear Margaret struggling to keep up with her buddies whilst her inverted womb trailed, encrusted with dirt and grime, behind.

With colostrum on hand, new life quickly swirled inside of baby Manila’s tummy

Thanks to the quick thinking of this kind-heart, who knew just what to do when she could not, Margaret and her sweetest-of-sweet, teeny-tiny lamb, Manila, were surrendered into our care.

With colostrum on hand, new life quickly swirled inside of baby Manila’s tummy, as gloves were donned and glucose and saline prepared to aid Margaret. And whilst we were able to clear and administer pain relief for the anguished ewe, nothing in our power or skill could return her uterus to its rightful position.

As luck (or lack thereof) would have it, these things so often occur outside of general veterinary clinic operating hours. However, thankful we shall always be for the skilled hands and kind heart of Dr Flo from the Gisborne Veterinary Clinic, to whom Margaret was rushed. An epidural later and calm was restored, as too was Margaret’s uterus.

A “purse string” procedure securing the deal.

But alas, whilst we were physically able to assist Margaret back to the world in more ways than one, we could not assist with the mental challenges she was facing. Just as some human mothers have trouble coming to terms with motherhood, so too can non-human animals. As this is something that is only recently being taken seriously by some, it comes as little surprise that mothers such as Margaret are often written off as “just bad mothers.”

A statement that flies in the face of evidence from veterinary science, psychology, pharmacology and biology. All of which inform us that mental health conditions and pathways to recovery are very real in the non-human animal world.

Just as they are in the human.

For just like us, their brains are bathed in hormones, giving them the capacity to have rich emotional worlds; yet, too, they can be traumatised by them. And although animals sometimes may not know what to do, we humans certainly should.

Being kind to all kinds is a great place to start.