Animals bred for food production constantly walk a razor-thin line between life and death that leaves them vulnerable to the most devastating abuses. The precariousness of their existence is perhaps most conspicuous when pain and loss befall a newborn in his very first moments, like the little lamb named Angelo who entered the world one fateful September day. From terror and trauma, however, hope also sometimes springs — as was the case in this story of heroic compassion in the face of cruelty.
A Newborn Lamb’s Close Call
Cindy Rexhaj was grocery shopping at an Italian market in Yonkers, New York when a truck filled with sheep started unloading at the live market and slaughterhouse nearby. As she walked over to get a closer look, Ms. Rexhaj noticed that among the adult animals being herded to their doom was a tiny black lamb, underfoot and in danger of being crushed. She also saw that another baby had already been trampled to death.
Acting quickly, Ms. Rexhaj pleaded with the driver to remove the newborn from the melee and reunite him with his mother. The driver surmised that the two lambs must have been siblings born together on the truck during transport but claimed that it would be impossible to find the survivor’s mother among the flock of more than 100 sheep. However, he handed the orphaned lamb over to Ms. Rexhaj, so she took him home, where she and her mother (who grew up on a farm in Europe) temporarily became Angelo’s surrogate parents.
The women bottle-fed Angelo diluted baby formula and fitted him with diapers so he could be with them indoors, in addition to letting him run around and relieve himself in their yard. Though he happily followed “Grandma” around just like a devoted puppy, Ms. Rexhaj realized that a row house in Yonkers was no place to raise a farm animal, so she called Farm Sanctuary for assistance. We sent a dedicated volunteer to pick him up that same day, and within hours Angelo had arrived at our New York Shelter.
Given all that Angelo had been through, National Shelter Director Susie Coston was concerned for his health, and she arranged for the special care he would need to ensure his survival and well-being. “We don’t know whether Angelo was able to nurse from his mother and receive colostrum, which is a specific type of milk produced by ewes in late pregnancy that’s rich in nutrients and antibodies,” she explained. “If test results indicate his protein levels are low or that he did not receive the vital immunities needed from his mother, we’ll order a full blood transfusion. But he is already gaining weight, which is a good sign, and is in very high spirits. Seeing Angelo frolic around in the sun, it strikes me how incredibly happy he seems — and we’re going to do everything possible to make sure he stays that way.”
Farm Sanctuary is only able to extend a loving, healing hand to helpless animals like Angelo through the critical support of our members. Help us give Angelo, and other animals in need of rescue, the chance at life they deserve – please make a gift to our Emergency Rescue Fund today! We, and baby Angelo, thank you for your compassion.