When animals are raised for profit, the bottom line is often more important than their health. Mark’s story illustrates this point. This lamb was suffering from a grossly enlarged scrotum, yet the farmer who raised him was unwilling to pay for the care he needed. Instead, the man intended to sell him quickly at auction, which would be a certain death sentence for this little lamb.
A vet, who also serves our Northern California Shelter, however, had another idea. He asked the farmer to relinquish custody of Mark to us, and the farmer agreed. After all, a sick lamb would not fetch much at auction. Of course, we gladly arranged to see Mark through his treatment.
The vet discovered that Mark’s entire large intestine and part of his small one had adhered to his testicle, creating a hernia. This dangerous condition needed to be repaired quickly. Even with surgery, there was a high risk of relapse. Mark’s prospects were tenuous, yet we were determined to give him a chance.
The surgery went well, but we remained concerned about Mark’s prospects for recovery. As Mark recuperated in a private pen, we noticed that he was lethargic and unwilling to eat. We feared that he had developed a blockage as a result of the operation. Before jumping to conclusions, however, we decided to try a non-medical remedy.
You see, sheep are flock animals, and they thrive when surrounded by others of their kind. With that in mind, we introduced Mark to Elizabeth and her gregarious sister Zuri, daughters of a sheep rescued from neglect last year. Zuri had her own rough start in life when she had to be rushed to the UC Davis veterinary hospital shortly after birth. Sure enough, upon joining Zuri and Elizabeth, Mark started eating and became more energetic.
Now, Mark is feeling much better, and it seems as if he has always been a part of his new family. He is deeply devoted to Zuri and Elizabeth, and they clearly care for him too. Mark is also gaining confidence, thanks to his adopted sisters who are happy to guide their new brother around the shelter. The ever-friendly Zuri always runs to greet visitors, and Mark has started to trail behind her to observe her interactions. The strong bond of this flock has been life-changing for Mark, helping him to find healing and happiness, something he had never experienced before Farm Sanctuary. With the security of his newfound family to help him feel safe, the sky’s the limit for this young man.