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From Heartbreak to Hope: Saving Mother Animals and Their Babies

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the love and nurturing we receive from the special people in our lives. But this year at Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Mother’s Day feels even more poignant as we welcome our new sheep mothers and their babies, spending their first spring with us enveloped in love. Watching the lambs—who are growing so fast, they’re hardly lambs anymore —play with one another, test their limits, and still return to their mothers for comfort and affection never gets old. Witnessing the strength of their familial bonds every day fills us with joy, but we grieve simultaneously for the millions of animal mothers trapped in the cruel food industry, denied the chance to experience this same love and connection with their babies.

In animal agriculture, mother animals are treated as mere breeding machines, forced to bear children only to have them ripped away, often only hours after birth. The emotional pain this causes is unbearable for both the mothers and their babies, leaving them to suffer and mourn the loss of their loved ones. The cries of cows in the dairy industry and the mournful melodies of mother pigs as they sing to their babies, separated from their bodies by bars, are real. Maternal love is maternal love. It transcends species.

At Catskill Animal Sanctuary, we believe that every animal deserves a life of love, compassion, and respect. We promise to provide a safe and loving home for each animal we rescue, where families can grow together, learn from each other, and form unbreakable bonds. Our newest sheep families are treated as individuals and they will get to live out their natural lives knowing what love feels like, both from us as their caretakers and from their own families.

When Myrtle, one of our older moms, gave birth to twins, Rowan and Remi, she was worn down, body and soul, from years of neglect. But in the months since she’s discovered that she and her babies are finally safe, we’ve watched Myrtle transform from an exhausted, frightened and sometimes aloof mom into a protective and loyal one. Having the opportunity to grow into the role of a caregiver (and even a leader amongst her peers!) has made a world of difference for her. Rowan and Remi, now five months old, are always close to Myrtle, playing and doting on their beloved and protective mama.

Conversely, Evelyn, one of our most confident, outgoing mothers of the whole flock, took to her role of motherhood like a well-loved glove. From the moment she surprised us by giving birth right in the middle of her field, Evelyn and her daughter Delilah have been inseparable. Delilah, taking notes from her mother, is also one of the most outgoing lambs, and was the first to approach her human caregivers with confidence and demand attention. Delilah’s bravery has inspired it in kind not only with the other lambs, but also with her mother. Watching them snuggle together (or watching Delilah climb all over her mom), we are grateful to know they will never be forcefully separated — they’ll get to know this love for their whole lives.

But when we reflect on the mother/lamb relationships we’ve come to know, we need to take a moment to acknowledge Judith and little Flora’s journey. Of all 40 sheep we rescued, and in our 22 years of rescue, we’ve never seen an animal with hoof rot as bad as Judith’s. Judith spent over 100 days at Cornell’s veterinary hospital, racking up a vet bill of thousands of dollars, For weeks, vets were uncertain whether they could spare her leg, or if amputation would be necessary to save her life. . Her daughter, Flora, born shortly before rescue, was severely malnourished but otherwise healthy. Flora accompanied Judith on the trip, providing much needed companionship and support for her mother on Judith’s journey to recovery. Thankfully, Judith was able to keep her leg, but had to lose a portion of her foot in order to survive. She is still doted upon by her darling daughter.

By sponsoring a sheep family for Mother’s Day, you can help us provide a safe and nurturing home for these deserving animals. Your support can ensure that these families will never have to experience the pain and suffering of being torn apart. Together, we can create a world where all animals are treated with kindness and compassion. This Mother’s Day, let’s make a meaningful difference in the lives of these animals, and honor all the nurturing figures in our lives, regardless of their species. Please join us in our mission and help us create a better future for these animals. Thank you for your support, and a Happy Mother’s Day to all the incredible moms out there, whether they have two legs or four!

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Love Spoken Here


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