November 30, 2015 - 9:00 PM
MONTE LAKE – Farm animals usually serve specific purposes. If they don’t produce milk, lay eggs or make wool, then they are likely to be served for supper.
But Blue the Lamb from Harmony Farm escaped not only the slaughter house and a debilitating injury, he's become the farm celebrity and he's making the most of it.
The little lamb suffered an injury shortly after birth, but was recently fitted with a pair of wheels meant for paraplegic dogs. Owner Patricia Porter says the now 10-month-old lamb will be the farm’s new mascot, or if he’s lucky, new stud. She says the young sheep has survived this long because he keeps giving them hope.
“He just looks at me like he knows we’re going to fix it,” Porter says.
At only two weeks old, Porter and husband Gerry saw the lamb ‘packing’ or holding up a hind leg as he walked suggesting injury. Porter says she tried so hard with him because he was so young.
“He went to all kinds of different people. They all said they didn’t think he had a break, that he just strained his leg,” Porter says. “We took him for reiki treatments, we took him for acupuncture treatments, he had massage — he had all kinds of stuff.”
Harmony Farm in Monte Lake is not certified organic but the treatment isn't entirely unusual. The Porters imprint early on young lambs to teach them from birth to not be afraid of humans. They believe this helps the sheep live a happier life, free from stress and makes their meat taste better.
Patricia and Gerry Porter with a young lamb.
(DANA REYNOLDS / iNFOnews.ca)
Unfortunately, as soon as Blue was able to walk on his bad leg, his good hind leg gave way because of the added stress it was under.
By this time, the Porters really felt there was only one option left.
“(Veterinarians) said bonk him over the head and move along. We’re pushing 400 head of sheep we can’t (provide treatment) for every sheep that breaks his leg,” Porter says.
Because of the stress of Blue’s injury, plus the medications and painkillers he’d taken, Porter says he’d be inedible and, therefore, really no use to the farmers.
“Every time we seemed about ready to let go somebody comes into his life and says ‘wait a minute why don’t you try this,’” Porter says.
A retired vet who made a visit to Harmony Farm suggested all he needed was to take the weight off of his back legs for a while and he would probably walk again. He recommended a dog wheel chair.
“Wheels generally are $1,000 to $1,500. He’s a sheep; we’re a farm. $1,500 is not an option for a sheep,” Porter says.
Then a Kamloops dog trainer intervened in his life again and donated a set of wheels, albeit with a few necessary adjustments. Blue is an uncastrated male and the harness needed to be fitted for his ‘equipment.’ Also, as he keeps growing, his harness will need to constantly be modified.
“Now, you need a fire extinguisher to keep up with him,” Porter says. "He burns rubber."
But perhaps Blue’s greatest accomplishment is not his increased mobility, but his increased libido. The day after receiving his wheels, he attempted to mate with several of the farm’s ewes.
“Those wheels just gave him so much confidence."
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— This story was corrected at 11:44 a.m., Dec. 9, 2015, to remove the term mutton.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015