Family Edition – by Walter Mangold

It may be a small matter in the scheme of things, but it surely mattered to the lost lamb that was found next to the road by weekenders returning from the West Coast and deposited at World of Birds just before five on Sunday. It was not the first sheep that a motherly Debbie took under her wing and into her home.

It was a struggle to get the sickly and thin creature to drink warm milk from a bottle. By late night the battle was won. “Ollie”, as named by the compassionate ladies who took mercy on the woolly bundle, eventually had enough nourishment to settle in for the night, sleeping cosily in a padded box next to the heating panel, only interrupting everybody’s sleep at four for another warmed-up bottle of milk. Our boys renamed the baby “Lambert” on account of it being a lamb, and Lambert’s Bay, a town on the West Coast.

The adopted orphan quickly adjusted to a new and pampered lifestyle, the next day guided around the park for exercise, ooh’ed and aah’ed by adults and children alike, yet with birds and monkeys protesting at seeing this unusual intruder. The Cafeteria cat, surprisingly, showed no fear or aggression and tolerated the newcomer.

It was evening and I was reading the paper. Debbie was feeding the new family addition on her lap, and then the boys, Garron and Ryan, were gambolling up and down the living room with the hilariously clumsy sheep outdoing them, still trying to figure out the things that can be done with four legs pulling in different directions.

It was a homely scene. Every now and then Lambert fell asleep, while the boys watched TV. All were delighted to have this little girl as a part of the family, even accepting the sudden pee and poo accidents.

Irrelevant now, but morbid thoughts did enter the mind when looking at the lamb, again cradled by Debbie with another feed. What would Lambert’s fate have been, if left to “nature”?  Would it have died slow or quick, before or during the night, next to the road? Would a jackal have taken the bleating  meal, or a Martial eagle, or would the crows have started to feed on the near dead animal in the morning?

This little soul was saved by compassion, and sheer luck. How it lost its mommy one doesn’t know. All we know is that it had fallen with its bum in the butter, and into love expressed. Although little was needed, we had to buy the commercial bulk quantity of special milk formula for Lambert’s optimal development and health. The cost of R500 could not be brought into question, although an unsympathetic person quipped that we could have bought 10kg of “lamb” at the butcher for that money.




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