It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
As the evening skies began to fulfill the promise of the ominous weather alerts our phones kept reminding us of throughout the day – sheep graziers’ warning, severe weather alert, flood watch – our thoughts could not escape the images of the countless little lambs born that day who would not survive that dark and stormy night.
Somehow two little ones would escape it. It and its deluge that saw 55 mL of rain dumped in our area overnight whilst bitter frosts and chills said the Arctic too had come to town.
And it was due to the warmth of human kindness they did.
Wrapped in a blanket and love, the tiny twosome touched down at sanctuary as the clock inched close to midnight. With the smell and presence of amniotic fluid still cloaking their feeble bodies, one could not escape the fact Peru and Tibet were so new to this world.
Speaking so quickly of their individuality, Tibet took no time to take to the colostrum we had on hand for him, but Peru had other ideas. Telling us not to be fooled by her diminutive size, she was a lass who would not be so easily won over, as she so sorely and sorrowfully cried that she missed her dear mumma.
Understanding the vital importance of colostrum hitting those wee tums within the first 24 hours of life, a soft tube was skilfully directed down Peru’s oesophagus, directing that liquid gold just where it needed to be.
Without this goodness, she did not stand a chance.
And now, not even 24 hours later, the two vulnerable babies have moved from critical to creative as they gambol about the barn. Exploring its nooks and crannies in the undying hope their mumma just may be there.
Alas, we know she won’t be, and so we watch and wait, pledging to be the best surrogate lamb mummas we can ever be.
Whilst little lambs bring us so much joy and brighten our lives in so many ways, the tragedy of their lot is not lost on us. Their desperate cries for the mumma they will never see again sombres our hearts and strengthens our resolve that their stories must be told.
That sheep are a domesticated species imposes a duty of care upon the domesticator, requiring us to ask of ourselves: If we cannot do something honourably, should we be doing it at all? If puppies or kittens were left to die in the same numbers that so cruelly befall little lambs, our society would never stand for it.
And that every year millions upon millions* of innocent lambs born at this time succumb to the elements and never make it to spring should concern us all. Concern us so much to ask: Where is the Good Shepherd on these dark and stormy nights?
*An estimated 15 million lambs die annually in Australia, mainly from exposure to weather and lack of shelter (The Australian, 3 September 2012)
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