Special by Name, Special by Nature
Whilst it is hard to define, it is easy to feel, just what makes Special special. For it takes but a moment with this happy-go-lucky little chap to intuit this.
With a difficult birth robbing him of vital oxygen, Special was made even more so. For a ‘special needs’ little guy he became, and that’s okay because we have a special place in our hearts and herd for animals such as he.
And although stunted in growth, nothing has stunted the little fellow’s zest for life and the many delights it offers.
Delights such as: a sweet chaffy blend made just for him that never fails to whip those adorable little lips of his into a frantic frenzy; or that special spot he has found in his straw-lined shelter he has claimed as his own, the one that offers both a cool breeze and a perfect view to see when his favorite humans come into view; and then there are his special buddies to make his world complete – the stoic Rammie Baa Baa inspiring him to be likewise, cheeky Harmony and her many endearing antics that she is keen to teach, and sweet little Miss T’fy, whose dinner he often shares.
But alas, far from kindness – and far from being the mindless automatons industry and our unjust animal protection legislation would have us believe – are most sheep, and indeed all of the unfortunate animals who have been labelled as “farm” animals.
A view that has been based on convenience and not fact.
And just as it has been a cognitive bias of our kind to view these hapless animals this way, we would do well to appreciate what science informs us, and that is that these animals too are possessed with their own cognitive biases that shape their perception of the world.
Sheep exposed to rough and callous treatment, loud noises and frightening experiences are less likely to show curiosity and a willingness to explore, whilst those treated with kindness tend to view the world through a more optimistic lens.
With personality traits as diverse as our own, sheep can never be categorised on a group level, for each and every one is special.
And so, whilst our society continues to make legal the abduction of their lives, we need to remember that this likewise erodes our compassion, something that is long overdue for our special consideration.
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.