"Lean On Me"by Colleen on 03/08/13
It was an autumn day and we had already harvested the mature pumpkins but there were, as always, a few immature fruit left on the vine at the end of the season. The sheep love to comb through the gardens looking for any tasty little fruits that didn’t make it to harvest, but they also like to eat the vines once they’ve been softened by a frost. Some of the plant vines are quite long and those of us with only two feet can be tripped up easily if we don’t pick up our feet. With four legs the sheep are quite adept at grazing the dying pumpkin plants, so one afternoon I was surprised to find that one of my ewes had become entangled in a vine and was laying down on her side. It was my 10 year old ewe and the vine was wrapped a couple of times entirely around one of her front legs. I quickly freed her from the vine but she didn’t want to get up. Her leg was fine but it was obvious that her struggle to free herself had been stressful, and she had laid down in exhaustion. When my careful attempts to get her to her feet and moving again failed, one of the other ewes came over and gave her a head butt to the rear. At first it appeared to me like kicking someone when they are down until I realized she had actually jolted the elderly ewe into getting to her feet. Then she gave her another little shove to get her going. The elderly ewe moved a step forward and then just stood there looking like I would look if I were a little dizzy. I watched with wonder as the younger ewe positioned herself in front of the elderly ewe and allowed her to rest her head and neck across the younger ewe’s shoulders. They stood there together for only a few moments until the elderly ewe moved away under her own strength.