Many of you have seen our friendly, wooly sheep named Bonnie, whom we often feature in our Instagram stories. You might have wondered how she became folded into our family? It is a sweet and heartwarming story.
Seven months ago she was born as one of twins in one of our horse pastures, fragile, weak and underdeveloped. The sheep at our place pretty much own the horse pastures. They just don’t respect any of the gates that are supposed to keep them out. The horses just put up with it! Her mother and stronger sister followed their own survival instincts and left her to die.
Fortunately, on that day, my vet was checking the pregnant mares in that pasture, as it was foaling season. That’s when she saw Bonnie lying there, completely defenseless. I was in the little town running errands when I got her call. She asked if I had time to look after a baby lamb. At that moment I thought, “Ooh, that would be so much fun for the kids!” and immediately said yes, without seriously weighing the implications of what it meant to care for a challenged newborn animal. At that spontaneous moment, it didn’t dawn on me that my kids would not even once be waking up in the middle of the night to take turns in helping me to feed her. Duh!
When I got back home and saw this little bag of bones, it broke my heart. I took the feeding very seriously. I was waking up in the night every two hours! First cow’s milk, which I worried would dehydrate her, and then goat’s milk, more similar to sheep’s milk. That made her thrive. It was just like having a baby again, being up at all hours. I thought that because of her small size she wouldn’t survive, but look at her today! So healthy and robust.
At one point, I tried to place Bonnie back in the sheep herd but, sadly, the other sheep rejected her. That’s when I realized that she wasn’t ever going to be a normal sheep ever again. We would have to create our own guidelines when it came to Bonnie living on our farm. For our family, the norm is to respect nature, values and each other. So, we applied that rule when it came to Bonnie. We had saved her from being a wild fox’s breakfast. But, because she had been raised by humans, Bonnie had lost her chance of living with the sheep herd. Her existence would have to continue to be with a human flock called Figueras!
She has assimilated into our family so completely that I would invite her into our living room in a second if she were house trained. As there is not a remote possibility that that will ever happen, I instead enjoy her roaming outside my window. We often sit with her on the grass and hang out with her on the back porch, where she munches on my white ginger lilies and every other type of flower around the house. But, despite that, she makes my children and me very happy, and I believe she is too!
Bonnie gives us an excuse to be outside and has taught my children to be compassionate towards the rejected. She also taught my children how to be responsible for regularly feeding an animal and, cleaning after her. Also by following our rule of not allowing her into the living room, to be compassionate of me not wanting the carpets ruined!
We love Bonnie and we hope to have her around for a long time. Stay tuned on Instagram for more stories about her daily life with us.