Disoriented, lost and terrified without her flock, Wendy was a lone sheep on the loose near Sacramento, California until she found herself stuck in a roadside ditch full of water and mud, completely unable to move. Fortunately, Wendy had not gone unnoticed and an animal control officer who saw her cross the road came to the sheep’s aid, rushing her to a veterinary hospital for treatment after finding that she was too weak to even stand.
At the University of California at Davis’ Veterinary Hospital for Animals, Wendy was still unresponsive and unable to walk, so doctors there put her on antibiotics right away in case she had started to develop pneumonia and, because her body condition was so poor, gave her intravenous fluids to build up her strength. And, during the course of diagnostic tests and exams to find out what ailed her, they found something else they had not expected: Wendy was in the very late stages of pregnancy and would soon give birth.
When we heard about Wendy during one of our recent visits to the hospital, and found out that she had no one to look out for her and nowhere to go, we offered to give her refuge and provide the special care she would need to give birth safely. Once she was cleared for travel, we picked her up at the hospital and brought the sweet mother sheep to Farm Sanctuary, where, sure enough, just days after she arrived at our California Shelter, she gave birth to two beautiful little boys, who we named Ady and Colvin.
On the morning Ady and Colvin were born, we were relieved that the lambs had made it safely into the world, but immediately began to have more concerns about the family’s health. Because of all she had been through, Wendy wasn’t producing as much milk as she needed to feed a set of twins, so we began bottle-feeding the lambs to ensure they got all the nourishment they needed. From the start, Colvin, who was born first, was strong and boisterous and seemed to be doing just fine, but for his twin brother Ady, who came next, this was not the case, and we knew right away that something was very wrong.
Due to contracted tendons that prevented him from walking without difficulty and being as active as little lambs should normally be, Ady needed physical therapy from the start. Of even greater concern, however, was that Ady also started showing signs of respiratory distress, so we rushed him to the hospital for emergency care. As we feared, Ady’s veterinarians quickly confirmed that the lamb was born with underdeveloped lungs, and began administering oxygen and antibiotics to give him a fighting chance at life.
Thankfully, Ady is now back home at the sanctuary, but still not out of the woods. While he can’t be with his mother and brother all of the time yet, as he has trouble breathing when he gets overexcited, he is convalescing in a cozy hospital pen right next to them, where he can see and hear his family members all of the time. The three spend time together every day so they can maintain their bond, and mom is always attentive to her son, baaing back to Ady when he baas to her to make sure her little one always knows that everything is okay.
Despite the terror she endured, Wendy is blossoming into a calm and contented sheep, who has taken comfort in the warm barn, nourishing food and loving care which we have provided for her, and has begun producing enough milk for Colvin to be able to nurse some of the time. So far, Colvin has turned out to be very outgoing and enjoys playing and jumping on top of Wendy, who has proven to be a very patient mom to her energetic son. Due to his illness, little Ady is more timid, but he gets more adventurous every day as he initiates play with his brother by gently butting him in the head. Colvin, in turn, is happy to be showing his brother the ropes of “lambhood” as Ady grows stronger.
We have high hopes that little Ady and the rest of the family will make a full recovery and have the wonderful life together that every family deserves. But animals like Wendy and her babies are only able to have this precious chance with the generous support of members like you who help fund the medications, medical supplies, physical therapy, and other veterinary care needed to rehabilitate them. If you can help this sweet family and other animals in need, please make a donation to our Emergency Rescue Fund today.