Popeye, Olive Oyl, Brutus and Swee’Pea
4th July 2013
He’s Popeye the Sailor Lamb!
Well, maybe not quite but he could well have been forced to navigate treacherous waters had he not been found recently on a wet and stormy Winter’s night. Following not only her ears but also her heart to the sound of a baby’s cry, a property owner stumbled upon a sight that would be enough to break even the hardest of hearts. Six baby lambs, all less than a week old, had been left to fend for themselves in the cold Victorian winter; their newly shorn mothers, together with their life-sustaining milk having been moved on some time earlier that day. After contacting the farmer and being advised that the lambs were of no interest to him, the property owner did what any kind-hearted person would do and lovingly bundled the woolly babies up and took them into the warmth of her home. With the capacity to provide love and care to two of the now-orphaned lambs, a phone call to Edgar’s Mission was then made to secure the future of the remaining four. And so, as we put our thoughts of an early night on the backburner, armed with warm baby-sized coats and bottles of formula, we fired up the Rescue Van and were off on a mission of kindness.
With around the clock care and regular feeding required, it is almost impossible to feel anything other than motherly love toward our latest rescuees. And come feed time, when we provide them with vital nutrition, not in the form of a trusty tin of spinach as Popeye may have you believe, we are constantly reminded of just how incredibly unique and precious each and every life is. There is Popeye, who took some time to warm to us and to accept a life on the bottle. Understandably, as the eldest of the quartet, Popeye would already have had some days to bond with his mother and it broke our hearts to witness the hole her absence had left in his world. Then there is Olive Oyl who, just like her fictional namesake, is all long, lean and leggy and, dare we say it, a bit of a diva, needing her bottle to be ‘just so’ before she will accept it. Small in stature but big in character is Brutus, the littlest of the lot. In what seems like a slight case of ‘little lamb syndrome’ Brutus will muscle his way to the front of the pack when it is time for a feed and he is always the first to begin drinking. And then there is Swee’Pea, who arrived bearing a limp, the legacy of a fracture in her leg. Whether she was trampled by the flock as they were rounded up or whether she found herself entangled in a fence and incurred the injury in her struggle, we do not know but our veterinary team has since applied a splint that will allow her bone to heal in the hope that a full recovery will be made.
For a creature who is often seen by the hundreds or thousands, as benign figures dotted throughout the countryside, it is all too easy for the life of one sheep to be discounted. But when one sees the ability of a lamb to feel trust when he accepts a bottle from your outstretched hand, to feel comfort when he snuggles up into your arms and to feel joy when he frolics about the paddock with his friends, one can only begin to see that creature as anything other than benign. And so, armed with this knowledge, perhaps it is time for us, the human race, to begin exploring uncharted waters. Perhaps it is time for us to set sail toward a kinder future and perhaps, just perhaps, we have the very best captain to lead us on our voyage. He is, after all, Popeye the Sailor Lamb!