Sunday, June 12, 2011

One Sick Sheep

Monday dawned with a promise of heat and humidity. This fact, combined with a seemingly endless to-do list, a project that seemed more than a little uncertain, and the need for an early morning departure time, made me feel more than a little stressed as the day began.

Morning chores did nothing to help this feeling. When I went to feed the lambs, one lamb was definitely “under the weather”. All the lambs hang out by the barn gate, waiting to get to the feeders. It is a wild stampede when the gate is opened, with jumping, bumping, baaing, butting, as all of them jostle for a position at the feeder. Except one. One lamb hung back, he put his head down and looked pathetic. When he finally wandered through the gate, it was without enthusiasm or interest. He walked close to the barn, pawed the ground and lay down. He didn’t even look at the feeders. Oh, great! The worst part of this whole “situation”….this was one of the “big boys”…one of the ones we are counting on taking to the processors in a short period of time. He just couldn’t up and DIE on me! He was looking like that might be his intention, though.

I was feeling pressured to “hurry” and a sick sheep was NOT what I needed. He was feeling so miserable that he let me hold him while he was lying down, and check him out all over. (NOT a good sign) Oh, bother! He needed some type of attention, so I went up to get my vet supplies. Meanwhile, I tried to get hold of Tom. No answer on the house phone. No answer on his cell phone. GRRRR! Oh, I looked up and he was banging chicken crates around in the barn. (in anticipation of our morning project) No wonder he didn’t answer any phone calls!

The idea at this point was to catch the “sick sheep”, medicate him, and go on my way. Of course, “sick sheep” instantly felt well enough to run around for at least 5 minutes prior to getting him (and all the rest of the lambs) in the barn. Now, I was really hot, really bothered and really worried. This didn’t bode well for the rest of the day.

Finally, I got Tom to help me capture the lamb. I medicated him and turned him back with the others. Second-guessing myself all morning as we headed off to breakfast with friends and a chicken project in H’burg, I couldn’t really focus on anything.

When we got back from H’burg, “sick sheep” was still feeling punk. The fact that it was in the nineties wasn’t helping anything. I still had to do the town-run (feedstore, bank, groceries). I worried while I ran my errands, wondering if he would be better or worse when I got home. No change was the diagnosis when I got home. I had spent the better part of the morning picking A’s brain via texts. She was fairly certain that my diagnosis and treatment were on-track. But, the lamb just didn’t seem to be responding. I began to fear the worst.

When I called the sheep at afternoon choretime, “sick sheep” came a-running with all the others. He didn’t eat real well, but he did at least show some interest. By evening, he was eating like a pig. Hooray!

If sheep and people share a lot of similarities, I suppose it is only natural that lambs and children are alike, too. In the same way that small children get instantly sick and the instantly respond to treatment…lambs can go from sick to well, or vice versa, at the drop of a hat.

Thankfully, this lamb was only suffering from a severe parasite load. Once that was treated, he felt so much better! That diagnosis was so much better and easier to deal with that the horrible things I had been considering.

Okay….on to Tuesday!

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