She was born the morning of January 27th. Her busy farmer mom, Faith, found her that afternoon alone and unable to stand. Faith did her best for Hope. Dashing home during the day for feedings, giving as much as she could. Hope needed more.
After seeing on Facebook that this little lamb had not improved and Faith just didn’t have the time, I offered to take her in. Faith enthusiastically agreed and dropped her off in a cardboard box with lamb formula and a nipple for feedings. I asked if she had a name. No.
“She is Hope,” I declare.
At six days old, Hope is still not standing on her own. This is a bit scary for us because we don’t know if there is something physical that is preventing her from standing and walking. She lays in her basket with her hind legs off to one side not able to get them under her. But she is alert, curious, and determined. Up to now, she has spent most of her time on her own because her farmer mom was working away from the farm. Now she will have a small family and large dog looking after her, providing physical therapy and encouragement. Let’s hope that’s all that she needs.
We introduce Hope to our guardian dog, Magnus. He needs a proper introduction to know that she his now his little lamb to guard and protect. Magnus practically pushes me out of the way as he gets to work cleaning her up. For once I am thankful for this dog’s fascination with poop. Magnus’ licking and nosing gives Hope some of the stimulation and physicality she has been missing. We are off to a good start.
It is a warm, sunny day (the high 40’s is warm in the middle of winter) so we sit outside with her on the grass. She sniff’s and nibbles the grass around her. We position Hope’s hind legs so that they are tucked under her body instead of off to one side, lifting her up now and then so she gets the idea of what to do.
At this age, orphaned lamb’s get a bottle about every 4 hours. We need to open her jaw gently to get the nipple in and she messily slurps from the side of her mouth. But that is something so we will take it.
Hope naps and rests between her attempts to move herself about and our physical therapy with her. By the end of the day she is able to brace herself against the side of the basket and get either her front legs or back legs in a standing position. But not both.
She has worked up an appetite and tackles her evening bottles with the quick feeding burst lambs are known for. This is progress.
We bring her basket upstairs and she sleeps next to my bed so I can hear her if she cries. It’s like having a baby all over again. Except this one sleeps better than any of mine. Hope sleeps on and off through the night but is quiet and content until a little before 5am. “Meeeh, meeeh.” Hope is ready for breakfast.
As I am warming her bottle, Hope works to get herself into an almost standing position. And I notice that she is now able to get her hind legs tucked under her on her own. This is great!
Today, she holds her head a little higher and she seems to recognize us. She works throughout the day to stand on her own. This little lamb is determined to figure it out. We will help and encourage along the way.
An act of charity has brought this lamb to our homestead. We are thankful to Faith for letting us take this on.
You may remember at the beginning of this year I wrote about asking God to help with acquiring the livestock we need for our farm.
Now, we have HOPE.