18th August 2011
Phoebe was unceremoniously dropped from the mouth of a large dog as it fled through the yard of the little lamb’s saviour. Collapsing through fear and exhaustion, the tiny lamb tugged at the heart strings of yet another Good Samaritan. Tiny spots of blood told the legacy of her ordeal as Phoebe too was brought to the sanctuary of Edgar’s Mission.
We were soon to learn that Phoebe’s struggle for life had begun long before the dog attack. It struck us as rather odd that this tiny lamb never made a sound and the concept of sucking from a bottle was so foreign to her. But soon her actions told us what she could not. Phoebe had long been struggling without a mother. After all what good is a voice if it is never answered and what good is a sucking reflex if there is nothing to suck from? Once lambs are weaned off milk they soon lose the sucking reflex that makes this possible. And so, drawing on the knowledge gained from countless other little orphans, Phoebe’s nourishment came via a syringe. Phoebe’s initial fear reaction of freezing in our arms and locking her jaw slowly melted into relaxation of body and soul until she would initiate contact and look lovingly towards the milk filled syringe and lick her lips.
Sheep belong to a class of mammals known as ruminants. These hooved animals have a large and complex stomach that is divided into four sections, it is able to digest highly fibrous foods that cannot be digested by many other animals. Here at the Mission their daily routine begins with them all setting off to graze, eating a large amount in a short time, they then return to the shed area to rest and rechew the ingested matter (ruminate). Ruminants also include cows, goats, camels, llamas, giraffes, bison, buffalos, deer, wildebeest, and antelope.