Obviously my life is dogs! I live and breathe them, from having my own to working with other people’s but as I’ve said before I also have other animals and this week my life has pretty much been about one of my sheep.
We took her on from a neighbour a couple of years ago because she was getting too old to breed from really and the two previous years she had developed issues with rearing her lambs and they’d had to be bottle fed. So rather than risk her getting with the Ram or having her put to sleep we took her on as one of our pets for her to live out her life comfortably.
Then in the winter of 2019 she started to drop a lot of weight and we realised that she was being bullied away from the food by our other sheep, so Kev started to get her out of the field every night and feed her separately so that she could eat in peace.
I remember she was that poorly that I gave him a week to get her better. I told him I wasn’t going to let her suffer so if she was no better in 7 days I was calling the vet and having her put to sleep. She completely surprised all of us and within that week she was back to her old mischievous ways.
We have fed her separately ever since and she started to get to the point where she would wander off and eat elsewhere after her dinner and wouldn’t go back in her field. This wasn’t an issue because where we live it was safe enough for her to do this and she’d always go back into the field the next morning after a night out grazing anything she fancied. Then one day we went to find her to put her back in the field and she was missing, we eventually found her shut back in our friends field with the ram that we’d wanted to keep her away from. God knows how she got there but it was evident that she’d been having great fun with her old flame!
Fast forward 5 months and I have spent this whole week worrying about what will happen when the lambs arrived. We’ve fed her up and given her everything she needs to make sure she’s in the best health possible for giving birth and raising her lambs but we knew she was an old girl and we knew the toll that it would take on her and everything that she had been through in her last lambing attempts. So we were waiting with baited breath as we checked on her several times a day and made sure we were on hand if she needed us.
Then at 7.30am on Wednesday Kev rang me to tell me I needed to get outside because he thought Shelley had started lambing and had something hanging out the back of her. I ran out there as he headed off to work and there it was the tip of a lambs nose just poking out. I sat with her for a while as she paced up and down and kept straining to push this lamb out. I didn’t know how long she’d been trying but eventually I realised that it had been over 40 minutes since kev rang me so it had been longer than that and the lamb was still no closer to coming out. I decided that I needed to take a closer look and assess the situation further but we were in a large open sided barn and I had no way of cornering her or holding her still.
I approached her slowly and was talking to her gently, I also connected with her telepathically so that I could communicate with her properly. The first thing she sent me when I connected was a calm feeling, she wasn’t worried or panicked which was good. She was prepared for this, she knew it was coming and she saw being a Mum as one of the most important jobs she could have. She was proud to be given the opportunity to be a Mum again.
I told her that I needed to take a look so I needed her to stay still and not try to move away from me and I reached behind her and lifted her tail. I could see the lambs nose and it’s tongue hanging to the side and I just knew there was a problem. When lambs are born their head and front legs pretty much come out together so I gently put my hand inside her to see if I could feel the feet and they weren’t there. I was communicating with her all the time, checking she was ok and telling her what I was doing and why. I knew this lamb wasn’t going to come out without its legs in the correct position so I had to put my arm inside to find them and manoeuvre them to where they needed to be. I did this easily and as I got the feet to where they needed to be I felt her starting to push so I gently said to her ‘come on girl, I’ll help you, you push and I’ll gently pull and we’ll do this together’ she did exactly as I asked but started to stumble and fall. So I just said ‘no Shelley try and stay up, we’re nearly there’ and she got her footing and steadied herself and a gorgeous little boy lamb arrived into the world.
I cleared his nose and mouth and gently rubbed him to start him breathing all while she stood watching me and the whole time I was telling her what I was doing. Then I laid him in front of her and she started to lick and clean him and call to him gently.
I made a pen up around her to make sure they were safe and the lamb couldn’t go anywhere and then I left her to it and went to walk my first lot of dogs.
I knew there was a chance she could have another one but I needed to get to work and I also knew that there would be enough of a gap in between for me to get the walk done and get back to help her with the next if it was needed. As I was driving I checked in with her telepathically and she thanked me for helping her then asked me why I couldn’t have done that all the other times because she said it was much easier us doing it that way.
When I popped back after the first walk it was clear that she wasn’t going to be having a second lamb and her gorgeous baby boy was up, walking about and feeding well. Kev was already home and had given her some food and offered her some water so she was being well cared for and she was taking good care of her baby, which meant I could head back out and do the rest of my walks without worrying.
Although that part is over and going well we still can’t fully relax because the health problems that she had before could appear again at any time so I’m having to check her milk supply daily at the moment until we’re sure that she’s ok. Should only need doing for the next week or so though and then hopefully we’ll be able to breath a big sigh of relief that it’s over and everyone is safe and well.