For a sheep named Amari, a serendipitous rescue brought safety, sanctuary, and the promise of a bright future for herself and her twin lambs.
Just before Thanksgiving, while monitoring local adoption boards, our shelter team learned about a Dorper sheep — a breed typically raised for meat — in desperate need of help. We immediately called the municipal animal shelter where she was being housed to see if we could take her in — but someone else had beaten us to the punch.
This news concerned us deeply, since there are few protections in place for farm animals in shelters. Instead of screening potential adopters , most shelters simply adopt farm animals out on a first-come-first-serve basis, or even send them to auction. This sheep could be taken home for a mere $25 — which, unfortunately, would be a good deal for someone looking to “adopt” her in order to eat her.
There was still a chance that we could save her, though; if her prospective adopter did not come to claim her, we were next on the list. To our dismay, however, the applicant did indeed follow through, and the sheep was gone; we figured that her story would, unfortunately, end there.
The following week, we got a call that changed everything. A local man needed help with a sheep he had just rescued, as she needed more support than he could provide. He had adopted her in an effort to keep her safe, worrying that someone else might slaughter her for meat. But he did not have the resources in place to care for her long-term.
Following a veterinary examination, the man learned that the sheep was pregnant and due to give birth very soon. However, the weather forecast predicted snow, and he worried that a newborn lamb might perish from the cold. He also lacked adequate barn space to protect mother and baby from any predators in the area. He asked if we could take on this sheep to provide the lifelong care that he knew she and her lamb deserved.
We immediately agreed, thankful for the opportunity to help one sheep in need after being unable to rescue another. But nothing could quite prepare us for what we would soon discover: This was the very same sheep we’d inquired about the week before! As it turned out, the first-in-line adopter was the same man who relinquished Amari to our care.
Once back at our Southern California Shelter, we placed Amari on round-the-clock observation in a birthing area near our shelter office. At Farm Sanctuary, she has access to a warm barn, nourishing food, and a team of expert caregivers working tirelessly to help her feel as safe and comfortable as possible. Despite all of this, Amari is still very frightened and does not yet fully understand that she is safe now. She likely lost lambs to slaughter in the past, and has no way of knowing that this will not happen again. We hope that, in time, she will come to see that we are here to help, and that we will never take her twins away from her.
On December 17, Amari gave birth to her twins, one male and one female. Thankfully, both mom and babies are doing well. Once the twins are big and strong enough, the trio will be able to join the rest of the sheep in the flock — Amari has already been “chatting” with each them through the fence, so we think that they will all become fast friends! Because sheep are herd animals, being part of a flock will help Amari feel more at ease. While she may never feel completely comfortable around humans, we are thrilled that she will have friends and family by her side to help her feel safe, secure, and loved.
Thanks to support from friends like you, we can continue to help animals like Amari and her babies enjoy the happy, peaceful lives they deserve. Amari’s journey to sanctuary reminds us of the power we each have to make a difference. Just one act of kindness can change the course of a life forever — and now, as animal ambassadors at Farm Sanctuary, Amari and her lambs can help inspire compassionate change for other farm animals just like them.
Amari and her family received the gift of sanctuary, and we encourage anyone who is touched by her story to consider gifting a one-time symbolic sponsorship in honor of rescued farm animals experiencing comfort and joy this season. Thank you for putting compassion first!