Saturday, April 19, 2014

Small things that matter most...

Friend Marion sent me a quick email earlier this week. "Good news, new lamb. Bad news, lost the ewe and another lamb." This meant that the living lamb would need to be bottle raised, something my very busy friend might have trouble finding time for. I called her right up and offered to take the lamb and raise it, but she had made plans to take it to work already. That night I stopped by her house to pick up some plants and there was the lamb, no bigger than a cat, wobbling around the yard. I stooped to pick it up and Marion said, "She might poop on you." Undeterred I scooped the wee thing up in my arms, she weighed only about 5 pounds, and snuggled in against me. My heart beat a quick tattoo and I fell in love. Hard. She did poop on me. The poor little thing had diarrhea. This is something serious in a small animal, it can cause death.

Marion succumbed to my pleas and let me take the lamb home with me. The tiny thing slept in a muck bucket next to my bed, and I woke every 2 hours to give her a bottle.

The next day the diarrhea was worse. I took her to work with me, and none of us could resist holding her. She pooped on us all. Liquid that ran from her, coating her legs and tail. And it was clear she didn't feel well, I assumed she had a belly ache. I called my veterinarian to see if there was some medication I could get for her. She said that since the lamb had not gotten any colostrum from her mother (first milk, loaded with antibodies and important things to get a newborns immune system up and running) the prognosis was poor. I asked if giving her yogurt would help, and she didn't think so. I mixed some in with her milk anyway, and within two feedings she seemed more perky. Marion brought by some medication to help that evening as well and I gave it her tiny doses several times.

I knew she might die, and I slept fitfully, waking to check on her often during the night. She cried for food every few hours and I fed her small portions, often. To my delight the next morning she was bright and active.

I took her to work with me again that day, and all my co-workers heaved sighs of relief to see her. And then...

Poo! Formed, solid, poo. I was so excited I took a picture and sent it to Marion. I called her asked her to check her email. She laughed heartily, with great relief. I joined her, giddy with delight that the lamb had turned a corner. We both knew that this meant that the lamb would most likely survive.
Imagine... a lamb dropping causing such glee! It is, indeed, the small things that matter so much.

Now the lamb, dubbed Bethany April Ann (initials, BAA,) is 4 days old. She is thriving, learning to run and leap and twist like baby lambs do. She snuggles with the dogs in the front seat of my truck, runs amok at work, and plays with Ziva, who thinks she is the greatest thing ever.

Little lambs that live even after a catastrophic birth, normal digestive tracts, the sight of that healthy lamb snuggling, eating, running, leaping... these are small things. Small things with a huge impact.

1 comment:

Crooked Shade Farm said...

Daryl, goat colostrum would have worked fine, and I always have some in the freezer. I'm glad to hear the yogurt did it, though. If you hear of anymore bum lambs, let me know. I'm looking for one.