Sunday, July 28, 2013

Identity Crisis

Agnes came to me in early June from a friend's farm in Kentucky, Wandering Ewe Farm & Fiber Mill. My friend found her frantically racing around the pasture trying to get a ewe to claim her as well as her first meal.  With no four-legged volunteers stepping forward and the clock ticking down, my friend called me.  She knows I have a soft place in my heart for ophans, which I call "bottle-lambs."

After talking to her, we decided it best for the lamb to come here where she could be nurtured and loved, fed and played with.  Keep in mind a newborn lamb is usually around 5 pounds.  I keep my bottle lambs in the yard to facilitate bottle feeding every 4 hours the first week.  Agnes was supposed to buddy up with Iris, a Bluefaced Leicester cross, who was a couple of months older. But I got to noticing that Agnes, instead of sleeping in the wooden shed, was sleeping under the porch on the big dog pillow with the Corgi.  Somewhere along the line, this lamb started identifying with my Welsh Pembroke Corgi.  I didn't quit catch on to this in the beginning and just thought the Corgi sensed Agnes's helplessness as a lamb.

Then someone who has raised sheep for 40 years came to buy Iris.  After standing and watching Agnes for a little bit, she said, "That lamb has an identity crisis.  She thinks she's a dog."  So I started paying more attention.  My dogs dislike cyclists on the road out front and run around the house barking.  Agnes runs around the house with them baaing.  When the dogs sit on the porch waiting to be fed, Agnes stands there with them waiting for a hand out as well.  She curls up with Michaela the Corgi on the big pillow underneath as if her life depends on this dog.

I'm not sure what the dog is thinking.  As a Corgi, her instinct is to herd sheep.  I see Michaela putting all the other sheep in their place, but Agnes isn't herded.  At least not yet.  The day is fast approaching when I will have to return Agnes to Wandering Ewe Farm.  I know this will be hard on all concerned.  How does one tell a sheep that it is time to be put out with the flock?  She will be sorely missed.
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