Over the years, we’ve had lots of critters wander onto the farm. We’ve had the duck who landed out of nowhere, Yeller Feller the tailless cat who made pals with my dad, and of course the most famous stray of all, Goober who stole my heart and has stayed here at the farm. But last week we had one of the strangest arrivals yet – a random sheep. Yep, you heard me correctly, a Mary-had-a-little-lamb bonafide sheep.
Out in the distance Cowboy and I saw something white, but we dismissed it. It was near a neighbor’s fence and wasn’t moving, so we thought maybe they had set something near their fence. No biggie.
Then came day two. As we drove into our front gate, the white thing moved. Cowboy and I looked at each other and in unison said, “Is that a sheep?”
Well my rescue mama instincts kicked in and before I would even let Cowboy get the gate shut, I had us riding through the pasture to check it out. Poor old gal was hiding in the cedar trees and was super nervous. Most disturbing of all, someone had put a collar of some sort around her neck, and it looked tight, seriously tight. Now my worried farm mama kicked in, right along side of my what-are-people-doing-fury critter protector mama. Needless to say I was a bundle of emotions and personalities.
Poor old gal was so nervous that there was no getting close to her. Heartsick, we took some hay to her resting spot in the trees, prayed she’d realize that we were her friends, and most importantly find the water trough in the pasture.
Driving back to the barn, I said, “What are we going to do with Babalu?”
“You’ve already named her? Seriously?” Cowboy asked, shaking his head.
“Of course. She has to have name.”
“Babalu?” he replied, looking at me incredulously.
“You know, I Love Lucy? Ricky sang Babalu. Sheep say baa baa.”
I’ll just let you imagine the side eye crazy look I was getting at this time. I thought I was super clever; he clearly thought I was nuts. As always, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. But I digress …
Over the next couple of days, Cowboy and I would take turns wandering out into the pasture, taking a knee, and trying to make friends. Holy sheep, she was not having it. The best we could do was get within five feet. And I thought donkeys were stubborn?
Nothing breaks this farmgirl’s heart more than an animal she can’t reach. Most of all we wanted to get that collar off of her. Lucky for us, we also have amazing neighbors, who keep cows in our pastures. After we gave them a heads up about Babalu, they also kept a daily lookout for her. I guess you could say we were all officially on sheep watch.
Truth is, our pasture is not fenced for sheep and Babalu could have easily gotten out, but she chose to stay. With grass a plenty and fresh water, and I’m quite sure all the farm critters whispering that she had found a sanctuary, she miraculously stayed.
I am delighted to report that earlier this week our amazing neighbors caught dear Babalu when she came up to visit the cows during feeding time. They loosened her collar, took her sweet self down to another pasture that was better for sheep, and planned to get her settled with friends who have other goats and sheep.
Can I just tell you the look of sheer joy that came over Cowboy’s face when I got off the phone with the neighbors and said, “They caught Babalu and they have a place for her.”
Now I knew he was grinning because he was thinking, “Thank you, Lord. We do not have to build a sheep pen and add another feed type to our supply list.” Because we all know that was a very real possibility with me. But I also like to think he was grinning because Babalu had found safety and rest.
Even the least of us deserves safety and rest.
P.S. We have no idea if Babalu wandered onto our place or someone dumped her off. Regardless, the collar situation, her advanced age, and her skinny condition lead me to believe that life hasn’t always been kind to her. Please people, if you have an animal you can no longer care for, give them a chance – call a rescue, a sanctuary, a friend. They deserve better from us.