15th June 2018
Michelle – your life mattered
On the 15th of June, we received a call from a distressed member of the public, alerted by the feeding frenzy of crows on what appeared to be a dead sheep, however upon checking the animal was still pitifully alive. Here in set off a change of events that saw Michelle surrendered into our care and immediate veterinary attention sort. Below is her story.
15th June 2018
Tonight she is warm …
This is Michelle. Hours ago she lay in a paddock—literally unable to cause her weak and feeble rain-soaked body to rise. Her right eye and nostril were at the mercy of crows, who were showing her none. But then her luck began to change on this most bitter of days. She was seen. She was seen by a kind heart who at first thought she was too late. And while only time will tell if she indeed was, Michelle is still with us, fighting, not only for her life but for that of her unborn baby, who at any moment is set to enter this world. So, for tonight, Michelle is warm, her wounds have been treated, she is loved, she has a name and she has a very sound reason to live. The latter springs from our solemn promise that a life truly worth living sits just the other side of her regaining her health. Sleep well, dear friends, with the thought we are doing everything in our power for Michelle, everything that the warmth of human kindness can deliver …
17th June 2018
Michelle: love stands tall
There can be no doubt that every being who treads this earth wants to live—every being, regardless of the form they have taken. We saw it as we raised the head of a pitifully thin, rain-drenched ewe and looked into her one good eye. Despite having every reason not to, Michelle wanted to live. And to our greatest surprise, only hours after being assessed, medicated and placed in our heated nursery, she stood. Eyeing the world as best she could, she tried to make sense of what had just happened. And so too did we.
Fearful as she was (and, given her past experiences with our kind, who could blame her?), we promised we’d try and make it right as we stretched out a hand to offer both hay and kindness. Sniffing at the hay, it appeared she was going to opt only for the former. But then the most extraordinary thing happened. Michelle leaned forward and dropped the front half of her body to the straw, taking our hand with her. Sinking in next to her, we placed her head across our knee and began to stroke her beautiful face. Her back end followed her front and she stretched deeper into our lap. With us stroking her face, she closed her good eye with the softest and slowest of blinks, and there we sat caressing that world-weary woolly face. At that point, palpable was her thought, “I don’t trust your kind—but you, I trust you,” and we wished the moment could have lasted forever and we could take away all the pain this dear girl had endured.
Sometime later we rose, stood tall and left to tend the other animals, but our parting words to our new friend were these: “Take your time Michelle, stand tall, but if you should fall, we’ll be right there by your side to pick you up again, because love always stands tall”.
20th June 2018
Today Michelle has rested up, drank a little but not shown much interest in food. Just now she has shown the first signs of going into labour. Please keep her and her unborn in your thoughts. It is going to be a tough one for such an elderly ewe and so pitifully thin.
21st June 2018
Michelle – a labour of love
As the clock ticked over from Wednesday to Thursday, whilst many slept, we did not for Michelle had shown the first signs of going into labour. This was heralded by a slight discharge that had begun to emerge from her swollen vulva as small contractions commenced. Our team sat at the ready to assist this gentle ewe who has come to trust us so. This lambing process is something that has evolved over thousands of years, and something sheep are able to do without the assistance of man. However, in this instance, it would seem our species had somewhat hampered Michelle’s ability to do what mother sheep can do so well. Recently shorn, very elderly, with poor nutrition and an inhospitable environment had not set Michelle up for an impending birth of what could well be twins. With contractions halting and no sign of her water bag emerging we knew things were not well, her undilated cervix confirming this. And so, a dash for emergency veterinary assistance was undertaken.
We now anxiously await the outcome and pray that veterinary assistance and all the love in the world can save both Michelle and her unborn. We sincerely thank everyone for their interest, concern and well wishes as you know, just like we do, this girl most certainly deserves to live through this and enjoy the rich rewards our kindness and labour of love has promised.
22nd June 2018
Michelle- we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t…
Thank you to everyone who has been holding Michelle and her unborn close in your thoughts. This update comes with both trepidation and hope. Despite veterinary intervention to induce the birth of her babies, Michelle remains unable to do so – her cervix not responding – failing to dilate. This leaves us with little alternative than to turn to a caesarean operation, however her age and poor state of health are not on her or our side. With the knowledge that if we fail to act at this point Michelle will not make it. We will endeavor to keep you updated as the day progresses, we thank you all in advance of your patience and understanding.
Michelle – so near yet so far…
Tonight, as we type, and Michelle’s life sits in the balance, that of her babies does not. Heartbreakingly so, they came so near, so incredibly near, to living out their days at a sanctuary. Yet as we know, life is not always fair. And in this instance, it most certainly wasn’t as Michelle’s twins did not survive the incredible odds stacked against them. Still weak from the caesarean, Michelle now has the greatest chance to survive as her energies now can be totally devoted to herself, as are ours.
If you don’t know sheep as we do, you may struggle to understand our grief over the passing of those we cannot save and our love for those we can. We find the thing that most people will find surprising about sheep as they come to know them, is their incredible personalities, each and every single one different, yet all united by their will to live. So for now, accommodating that will is the greatest of tasks we have ahead of us on behalf of Michelle. For whatever time we can, we want to ensure she is surrounded by love, kindness, other happy sheep and of course wheetbix treats that we just know she will come to love. And too, her babies (Micheal and Michellet) will be with her in more than spirit as their little bodies will be buried in our enchanted forest, forever free and never forgotten.
With our bag of tricks now having been completely utilised, all of the medication, care and expertise of our team on board, it is now up to Michelle and perhaps fate to decide if she can pull through this greatest of challenges. Of course, if Michelle decides her body has had enough, we shall honour her wish, and if need be help her pass. But believe us when we say we truly do hope she gets a chance at the life we have promised her, a life she so deserves.
23rd June 2018
I saw them..
However briefly I saw them, Michelle’s beautiful babies, Michael and Michellet, lifeless as they were, were perfect in every way, too perfect in fact for this world. And now I close my tear soaked eyes and I see Michelle. Standing tall atop a grassy hill, her two perfect eyes taking in the peace and tranquillity around her, her sides are rounded and her youthful body robust. Her two lambs stand next to her, sheltering by her legs, she lowers her head and gently touches her sweet mouth to their woolly heads. It is love in its purest of forms, even if it is only in my mind’s eye, I saw them. And for now that is where they shall remain for Michelle is gone, she left this world earlier today.
My heart is broken yet again, but I know too it is complete for in loving animals as I do my heart is made whole as know I have found my calling and am where I need to be. I am strong in my resolve to help where I can and be their voice when I cannot. Vulnerable all the while to bear the emotion of my love and resilient to rise again. Comfort comes in many forms, this time in the knowledge I and my amazing team (whose hearts too are heavy with this passing) did everything in our power to give Michelle the love, support, pain relief and medical attention she desperately needed and that she didn’t die cold, in pain, alone and unseen in a paddock on that most bitter of days.
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been with us for Michelle’s journey. Your kind words and support mean the world to us – that your hearts have been moved for seeing animals as we do is a poignant reminder of the power of telling the stories of the beautiful animals who come into our world. For every life matters, however brief that life may be. I saw them…