26th December 2015
Sometimes we just want to scream at the top of our lungs, “How could you?” as we try and fathom how any human being could allow a creature to fall into such dire straits as Posy. When we first laid eyes on the young ewe, our thoughts were that we were too late. Inching closer, the smell of rotting flesh and maggots hit our nostrils while the sight of her stiffened legs and bloated belly said rigor mortis had taken hold, and our hearts sank. Then, “Did you see that?”, “See what?”, “Her leg moved”, “Are you sure?” We picked up both speed and hope and raced even faster to where she lay.
It was beyond comprehension that any creature could have survived what this dear sheep had endured. Clearly recently shorn and her flystrike treated, it was evident someone had known of her pitifully thin state and with half an eye open and any semblance of smell they too would have known of her maggot-infested hoof. Yet alone she had clearly languished for days under the searing hot sun of near 40 degrees and the heaviest of downpours that had sodden what little fleece she had left. What was surprising above all else was that dear Posy had clung tenaciously to life, reckoning this world was one she still wished to be a part of.
Gently lifting her frail and thin body onto the stretcher, our team set to work, hoping to prove her desire to live well-founded; although they were never voiced, we each had serious doubts she was long for this world. Our greatest cause for hope was to quickly come as Posy devoured both our kindness and hay; with her rumen rumbling loudly, we set to work on her maggot-infested hoof, the worst we have ever seen. Debrided, bathed and medicated, it would be a wait-and-see game to determine the full extent of the damage. If we didn’t know it then, the coming days would prove Posy to be one of the most determined and strong-willed creatures we have ever encountered. Exceeding all expectations, she was able to stand in a matter of days and even weight-bear on her damaged hoof and all the while her appetite for food and life remained ravenous. Daily assisted walks would follow, where Posy went from strength to strength and in only a matter of weeks she could rise, stand and walk unaided. But the most surprising thing about Posy, clearly a flock sheep, was her ready and welcoming acceptance of both our presence and handling. Often we would hear her call out, simply wanting her human friends to come and sit with her and pick her favourite wild flowers, something rarely seen in sheep unaccustomed to kindness. We cannot begin to relay the huge impression this gutsy gal has made on our lives as we trust we too have made on hers.
Posy has indeed shown us many things: her resilience has been amazing and her quick placement of trust well-founded. She found courage and hope in a place it had never been, she conquered unimaginable pain and suffering. Her reward for all of this is a home she would never have thought possible. And she has shown that sometimes our darkest hours can actually be our finest.
Footnote: We thank all those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure Posy was entrusted to our care. No animal should have to endure what she did.