In eighteen years of rescue, we’ve learned a lot about sheep. They are loyal, affectionate, and shy. To get to know a sheep is to earn their trust, and to know that they will love you as much as you love them.

When Nina, a lamb marked for slaughter, came to us just days before Easter, she hadn’t known much love in her short life.  We know the conditions that she lived in were abysmal, we know she was separated too early from her mother, and we know that her tail was removed— a common practice in animal agriculture— without any painkillers or anesthesia. She was rescued from a live market in Astoria, where she (and so many others) would have been chosen, killed, and eaten for the holiday.

Lambs are slaughtered between 2 and 6 months old. Nina is about 5 months old, days away from winding up on someone’s plate. After rescuers John and Denise pleaded with the owner of the live market, he agreed to give Nina, the smallest lamb, to them. He was baffled that they didn't want her legs bound together for the journey out of the market.

Around the world, over 500 million sheep are killed every year. If we took only one second to honor each of those 500 million lives lost, we’d be grieving for almost 16 years. When we remember the individuality of each of the sheep we’ve come to know, we realize that 500 million unique, sweet, innocent individuals die for a meal.

At Catskill Animal Sanctuary, sheep trek across the property for a hug. They will paw—or hoof—at you if they feel you’re not paying enough attention. They will wag their tails to convey their happiness— no different from the affectionate dogs or cats we have at home. Sheep, especially lambs, just want to be loved. Nina already makes herself at home in people's laps within moments of being introduced. She wants to be nuzzled and kissed by everyone. She’ll take on an important role as an ambassador for her kind, teaching everyone who comes through our gates about the kindness, gentleness, and intelligence of all animals.

The vet is continuing to assess her health, but we are already treating her for coccidia, a common condition in animals raised for their flesh.

How to Help Nina:
-If you'd like to help countless others like Nina, please keep animals in your heart —and off your plate— this Easter (and all year long!)
-Share Nina's story with friends and family
-If you'd like to help with the costs of Nina's care, you can become one of her sponsors— which means you can schedule a VIP visit with her (once she has a clean bill of health). There are so many wonderful benefits to sponsoring— but most of all, you'll know that you're helping Nina get a fresh start for Easter.

Love Spoken Here.