There is no greater feeling
than to know you earned an animal’s trust.
~ Alison Stormwolf
To most people, sheep are just farm animals. Something that hang out in their pastures (if they are lucky enough to be free range), get fat, and then are butchered so that people can dine on their little chops over a candle lit dinner.
To me, sheep are so much more.
A year ago I was lucky to witness fourteen sweet lives being born. Wooly, knocked knee, beautiful lambs entered the world and changed my whole perspective on what it means to be a vegan, to live a kind life.
Yesterday, one of those sweet sweet babies I watched enter this world, fought for when his mom wouldn’t accept him as hers, nursed back to health when he was sick, and most importantly, loved, died. I will spare you the details of his death. It’s one though that makes you pray so hard for everything in this world to just die in their sleep.
Sweet Peter was just that, sweet. The kindness little soul, so gentle and patient. He was fearless and independent and above all, looking into his eyes, he trusted and he loved.
He was the last lamb to be born and his mama, Big Mama, rejected him. He was small, the smallest of them all, and when his mama wanted nothing to do with him, I worked day and night doing everything I could to make sure he lived.
And he did.
I think, no, I know there was a trust he bestowed upon me from that moment on. I’d always do everything in my power to make sure he lived a happy, healthy life.
And I tried. I really tried.
Nothing is sweeter then when you earn the trust of an animal.
To the people that say animals don’t feel or have a personality I simply ask; have you every just sat with one for any extended period of time and watched the way they interact with the world and others? Have you ever looked deep into their eyes?
It’s so easy for us to walk into a grocery store, pick up our pre-cut meat, head home and throw it on the BBQ. It’s easy to disassociate ourselves from what it really is.
When you raise them, learning each ones little personalities, their favorite treats, where they liked to be scratched, it all becomes so real.
He had no fear when it came to David and I. When he’d see us approaching his little ears would perk up, he’d tilt his head, and upon recognition he trot over to us, waiting to be scratched between his ears.
He was, by far, the coolest sheep.
As I crouched over his lifeless body, sobbing wet tears, I reach out to close his eyes, for it was the last thing I could do to protect and honor his his short little life. It was in that moment that I realized how lucky he was because he was born on our farm. He was cared for deeply and treated with the respect he deserved as a living, breathing soul.
Today I shed tears not for the loss of a farm animal but for the loss of a pet.