By Dr. Andrew Jones
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Little lamb named Blue gets new life thanks to wheels
‘You could see the relief in his eyes,’ says owners of Blue, a seven-month-old lamb near Kamloops (Source: cbc news)
Blue is a sheep that doesn’t follow the rest of the flock.
Instead the seven-month-old lamb can be found racing around the barn on a set of wheels, thanks to a modified dog wheelchair that he wears to support his injured hind legs.
“He just burns up the barn,” said Gerry Porter of Harmony Farm in Monte Creek, east of Kamloops.
“In fact, he’s a real pain to get him in the wheels because he’s so anxious to get them and as soon as he gets them, he just burns out … we give him more and more space all the time so that he can use it more.”
They just couldn’t put him down
Gerry and Patricia Porter, who breed hundreds of sheep for use as meat, decided to put Blue into a wheelchair after the young ram became lame in both legs.
“Most farmers would say you just bonk them over the head and move along, you know, they’re sheep. We’re farmers, but for some reason we couldn’t do that. I’m not sure what that reason is,” Patricia said.
“Blue for some reason, he’s got these beautiful blue eyes and he looks at us and he’ll look at you the same way and you just have to do something. When we have sheep that need to be moved on, we can do that, but for some reason he just keeps grabbing at our heartstrings.”
Blue had problems with one of his hind legs ever since he was young age, and the Porters had tried everything from anti-inflammatory medication with herbs to acupuncture to try and treat the leg.
But when Blue was finally starting to walk on the strained leg again, his good leg gave out.
Only just a few weeks ago, the Porters had thought they had done all they could and were considering putting him down.
‘He took off like a wild man’
Then they tried the wheelchair, at the suggestion of a retired veterinarian.
“We didn’t know if he would take to it. But it was odd because as soon as we fitted him, it was like you could see him light up, you could see the relief in his eyes,” Patricia said.
Gerry said Blue immediately sped away in his wheels: “He was a little hellion. He took off like a wild man.”
“The next morning we put it on, he was rearing in my arms to get into the cart. He doesn’t bang into things and the next day he was so much lighter, you could see his gratitude and right away, he was starting to consider breeding ewes.”
In fact, he’s so spunky with his wheels on, Patricia said they are hopeful he’ll get to work and father a new batches of lambs, as he is well-bred.
“He could be one of our rams, our star rams. We keep our genetics very clean, so he could pay us back in the long run if he could stand up and do his job.”
Either way, Blue will be kept around as the official greeter and mascot of the farm.
“We have a simple life so when we can do something like this for a lamb like Blue — and he just stands here and takes it all in and gives us a big hug and just can’t wait to get in his new found wheels — it gives you joy to your life,” she said.
“That’s what keeps farmers, farmers.”
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