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Did you know that if a sheep rolls over onto her back, especially if she is heavily pregnant, she may not be able to get back up on her feet again because her back is sort of flat like a table, and that there's a danger she could die?? No, me neither. But it's something I was told recently by a woman from a farming family who works in the animal shelter where I volunteer.
So, yesterday morning, we were sitting at the dining table having breakfast and gazing out to the fields and hills behind our house, watching the many little birds who come to gorge at the bird feeders and watching the sheep mooching about in the fields, many of them fat and slow with lamb. Next thing, I noticed one lying on her back, legs sticking up in the air.
Of course, I immediately got all concerned and went into animal rescue mode, telling S and his family, who are here visiting for a week, that we needed to urgently turn her over or she would die! Strangely they didn't seem to share my concern and weren't really picking up on how serious this could be for the sheep.
We were still in our pyjamas so I rushed off to throw some clothes on, deciding to drive to the farm, worried that by the time I walked/ran down the lane it would be too late (not being sure how long exactly the sheep has before it expires). My brother-in-law's car was blocking mine in so I roped him into driving me round to save time.
We zoomed off down the farm lane. The farmer meanwhile was trundling towards us in his tractor and because it's a single dirt track he had to back up as we drove towards him on our mission to save the sheep. I leapt out of the car, in a style reminiscent of all good 'we only have seconds to save the world' moments in any movie ever made and befitting the life or death-ness of this situation, ran over to the farmer in his tractor and explained that I lived in the cottage by his fields and that one of his sheep was lying on her back which I'd been told is dangerous. He confirmed that indeed it was and thanked me for letting him know.
I got back into the car feeling super pleased that I had surely helped to save a life, only to notice that as soon as the farmer had gone into the field all the sheep had started walking towards him thinking he was coming with food, including the one who had been on her back apparently unable to right herself!! I returned to the house, where S and the others had been watching the whole thing unfold, feeling slightly sheepish!
My other post this week is here:
Happy Sunday Sketches!