And just like that, our mob of sheep was halved.
We welcomed Jackson two years ago, fighting over who bottle-fed him (I won a lot of the time):
Just before we go on, can we take a closer look at Maeve?
As he got older, we chased him out of the garden by swinging an empty bucket at his head:
and we took handful after handful of grain to him and his fellow-bottle-raised pal, Tiny, in the paddock:
But last week, Jackson injured himself and couldn’t stand up. We did our best to nurse him.
We patted him and rubbed behind his ears as he leant his head into our hands. We brought him fresh water and lentils and chickpeas and beans and milk thistles and hay and loads of company. But he couldn’t stand up and after a couple of days his head lowered slowly towards the ground and he died. Elsie and Maeve looked at him, his tongue was out slightly and his head was lowered a little but with his eyes open he looked exactly as he did in the days before.
And we comforted our two little girls as their bodies shook and the tears streamed down their faces in their first experience of death. Aren’t we lucky that at 8 and 5 years old, the first time that our children experienced death was with a sheep*? Not a parent, a grandparent or a sibling. I feel so fortunate and grateful about that.
We saved Jackson’s life and did our best to give him a great one. And he made us very happy. But of course, the rewards worked both ways. Raising him taught Elsie and Maeve things about responsibility, respect, compassion, patience and now bereavement. Why wouldn’t you have a pet of some sort?
I haven’t blogged here for while (thanks to those who have reminded me of that). But I have been writing. I studied an online writing course. And now, all I can think about is writing. Seriously. I learnt so much. I could go on and on about how much I loved it, but it’s a bit like green smoothies – that’s great if you really like them, but we don’t really care.
Anyway, I hope it’s just the start of something new for me with my writing. I’m going to make sure of it. Writing for me is like a bottle of milk for an orphaned lamb.
*Actually Elsie and Maeve did have a pet moth for a time until I announced that it was cruel and told them to put it outside where it could fly and be free with its friends. They placed it outside against the lounge room window where they could still watch it, but a few seconds later, Blackie came along and snatched it off the glass with his teeth and swallowed it.