We are reeling from the sudden loss of a dear friend, The Great Sheep Lambert. “A sweet boy, in a pushy exuberant toddler kind of way,” is how sanctuary manager Kathy Keefe described him.
Lambert’s predecessor, The Great Sheep Rambo, mastered gently pawing our legs to indicate that he wanted a massage. Lambert’s communication was less gentle, more like a kick; he’d raise his front leg fast and high and poke us on the shin. We obliged, of course, many times a day. And when we found exactly the right spot, he’d lean into us, wiggling a hind leg in satisfaction.
Sheep are discounted as “sheepish” and not terribly bright, but we have learned over the years that they are remarkable animals, among the most extraordinary beings that I’ve ever met. Lambert was one of those. Fiercely independent and pushy, he was also deeply affectionate, and his sensitivity brought more than one of us to tears.
Consider the following: I was standing in the barn aisle with The Underfoot Family one day, and watched Lambert approach one of the barn cats, who gave him a snarl, hiss, and whack on the head. Lambert ran back to me, pressed his head into mine (I had sat down to comfort him) and remained that way for several minutes. I massaged his cheeks and consoled him with soft words as he recovered from hurt feelings. “I was just going to LOVE her!! WHY DID SHE DO THAT?” is what I felt from him in that moment.
Keefe confirmed this deep sensitivity—and a kind of soulfulness—about Lambert. “There were days when he would look at me and I would press my face to his and breathe him in. I think he was doing the same,” she wrote.
“He relished our daily snuggle time,” animal caregiver Erin Murphy wrote. But perhaps her favorite memory was of dinner time, when she would call “Lambert, party of two! Your table is ready!!” And down the aisle he would bound, his companion Hannah in tow. “I believe he was the only partner Hannah ever had who loved her back,” wrote animal care coordinator Jenn Mackey.
“An old soul in a young body,” Erin wrote. And she was right.
Thanks for the lessons, friend, we will cherish your memory.