Walking through the barn just now, it was the draw of his nicker that stopped us in our tracks. Little Switzerland, not even 2 days into our care, had just recognised the face of one of the first humans to show him love and kindness.
Heeding his call the door was opened, and the little guy became even more enthusiastic. Eagerly stepping forward to the now crouching human, he settled his head in the palm of their hand.
And few more hauntingly beautiful scenes unfolded.
Making this moment even more magical was the fact these were the voluntary and self-driven actions of a flock sheep. An animal whose only interactions with humans before his ordeal were of a none-to-pleasant kind. And his ordeal gave Switzerland every reason to never trust a species other than his own. Yet somehow, he did.
With his “ordeal” starting some weeks prior when the bucolic landscape of his and his flock’s world was invaded by two maundering dogs. Such a feverishly savage and bloody attack that was to claim the lives of many of his terrified buddies.
And almost his own.
With critical and scattered lacerations to his neck and head, it was indeed a miracle his jugular vein was spared. And although initial treatment was rendered, it appears to have been both crude and swift. With Switzerland returned to the paddock of his trauma.
Scarred and scared, both inside and out, the little lad had done his darndest to stay on the right side of living. However, he threatened to do otherwise with his rotting flesh, sending out an invitation to those harbingers of doom, Lucilia cuprina, better known as the Australian sheep blowfly, who all too quickly obliged as his body became feebler and more septic by the day.
With similar neuroanatomy to we humans, Switzerland’s pain levels were anything but neutral and so too was the toxic stench from his decomposing state. By the time kindness found him in the form of a kindly stranger, the young sheep could not stand, and his condition was best described as critical.
With Switzerland’s release secured, he was hastily sanctuary bound as we set to work to stabilise him. Antibiotics, fluids, pain relief, anti-inflammatories, and soothing salves are just some of the many things in our arsenal of kindness sent his way.
But the one thing we believe that truly spoke the loudest was what he felt from our hearts. Drawing on the numerous scientific studies that speak to the phenomenon of emotional contagion, we knew this gentle and intuitive being felt this.
And drawing on this knowledge too, it is something we can take with us in our daily interactions with others. Be those others, human or non-human, as we draw a kinder world for all.
However, not with pencil and paper we do this, but by choosing the emotions we exude, offering them along with the gifts of our peace, goodwill and kindness.
For few are more deserving of this than the species our kind has held most to our harm–farmed animals.
Blending tragedy with hope comes Nepal, a sweet little Merino lamb, born one of triplets, who sadly became separated from his family.
While logic tells us he did not fall from the sky, he might as well have, for from where he has come, we cannot ascertain. It is as if he is nobody’s cat. And here now, he most certainly is.
Few things in life tug more at the heartstrings than when you see the life draining out of the eyes of an animal. And when that animal is but a youngster, the tug becomes an all-consuming wrench.
Found wandering on a highway that homed no sheep, it is believed that dear Jump did just that.
They have been declared the comedians of the barnyard (goats, that is) and proving this statement is not a work of fiction come Frick, Frack and Applejack.
It was the message we prayed we would never have to send – well, not for many a year anyway – to our team.
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.
Meet Annie Yokely and Mary Poopins! A community Facebook post was to prove the lifeline for two plucky and adventurous hens. It, too, was to prove just how maligned, disregarded and poorly protected their kind is.