Bursting into our world and our hearts almost four years ago and proving it does take a village to raise a special needs lamb was a quirky black faced Suffolk ewe we named Saturday. A convoy of kindness ferried Saturday from the fields of rural NSW to our sanctuary, a mammoth task in itself. But all those involved who helped Saturday leapfrog her way here gave of their time and energies so selflessly, believing all the while that since we humans live in a world of possibilities and so too should our animal friends.
A first we had difficulty pinpointing the exact cause of Saturday’s inability to use her back legs, as tests, medications and therapy failed to yield any appreciable results. This left only congenital spasticity as the answer for why the messages from Saturday’s brain to her hind limbs were going awry. As dedicated volunteers rallied throughout the day to keep little Saturday mobile and reaching her goals, a specially designed cart was sought. Delivering on its promise of mobility, Saturday’s cart meant she could set about exploring every inch of our 153 acres and a few handbags as well. A task she accepted without a moment’s hesitation as if it were in the tea leaves that she always would.
Saturday’s miraculous determination coupled with her frowning curiosity (if you ever saw her furrowed expression you will know what we mean) saw her days infused with exploration, humour, wonder and, in the last two years, her BFF, an equally quirky special needs kid goat, named Steady Eddie. Gosh so many hearts, minds and photographs bear the hoofprints of this dynamic duo, as they wobbled at the top speed of a snail’s pace about the sanctuary, snail’s pace that was until the two spied an unattended box of wheetbix or bulging handbag.
Our days will never be the same without Saturday; not only is there an empty space in our barn but in our days as well, as so much of them revolved around Saturday and her ‘in and out of her cart’ routine. We take away from knowing her a sense of awe for her resilience; a sense of tranquillity for her acceptance of the curveball life had dealt her and her patience whilst she would daily undergo her exercises, massage and therapy; a sense of charm for her ability to endear herself to all she met; a sense of inspiration for the love she gave unconditionally but most of all a sense of mindfulness for her ability to seize every day as if it were the most exciting and inviting opportunity life could afford one, whilst never ever holding a grudge.
We take comfort knowing that sitting just beyond the all-consuming grief we are living, sits a field of beautiful, heart-warming memories. Memories like the time a dear young boy who too shared a mobility challenge came to visit Saturday. He was wired up with a microphone for media purposes, although oblivious to this, he and Saturday went for a little wander between filming. The young chap turned to Saturday and said, “Saturday, you look so pretty in your pink jacket.” And she did, she truly did, as did the two of them silhouetted in pure, unbridled innocence. Or then there was the time we affixed a bright orange fluorescent flag to Saturday’s cart to make finding her easier as she went on her little ewok adventures around the farm. The idea worked perfectly until Saturday figured out that if she went under the trees she could dislodge the flag and evade her rest break just that little bit longer. Oh, and then there was the time we were making a little clip about Lemonade the sheep. With cameras rolling Saturday wheeled into view, checked everything out, then wheeled on out again just as nonchalantly as she had photobombed the scene.
Her especially fashioned little racing car, aka her bed, which kept her in good stead whilst she rested was another testament to the village at work to raise a special needs lamb, with contributions and ideas coming from many to make it possible. A generous donor too made possible a laser machine that daily aided Saturday’s muscles and comfort.
Whilst the day Saturday came into our world left us in awe, today she leaves us in tears. After a non-eventful day exploring the farm and life, a most unusual noise summoned us to her stall where she had been comfortably resting. Reminding us of the fragility of life, a few short minutes later she was gone and today a village mourns.