The first time we met Kitty, Cat and Tony, three hapless sheep who had been united by the circumstance of abandonment in a rural country pound, we found two extremes. While Kitty and Cat, two elderly Damara ewes, were scared and determined to have nothing to do with us, the affable Tony, a handsome Texel ram, sat at the opposite end of the spectrum— friendly, confident and only too willing to partake in a back scratch. Gently offering the words, “Don’t be afraid; we’re taking you home” to Kitty and Cat, the untrusting duo soon joined their chaperone, Tony, and were ushered towards our kindness.
United by the circumstance of abandonment, all three had come together in a rural country pound—a place where so often misery awaits abandoned farmed animals. Either way, claimed or on-sold, their fate is usually the same, and it’s not a long and happy one. But not this time. With Tony taking no time to settle in at Edgar’s Mission, it is Kitty and Cat who are taking a little longer. After serving their quarantine time, they have now joined one of our special needs flocks, made up in part of other sheep who too once bore the hallmarks of distrust for our species. As each day passes and their flight zone* decreases, their little tummies, swelling inch by maternal inch, cause us to feel we may have saved more than three lives that fateful day. And should this prove true (through soon-to-be-performed ultrasound tests), oh what a joy for these ageing ewes to give birth to their babes in a sanctuary setting, as they finally realise there is nothing to be afraid of any more.
* “Flight zone” refers to an animal’s personal space. Entering this zone will cause the animal to move: “take flight”. It is determined by the tameness of the animal and how habituated they are to humans. Tame animals are said to have zero flight zone, while those not accustomed to, and wary of, humans have a very big flight zone.