I was in my studio when my phone rang, Jon’s ring. He said there was a sheep down in the pasture. I ran out and saw it was Tess, her legs under her and her head on the ground. Jon said she just went down, like she had been shot. We tried to get her to stand, but as we lifted her off the ground her legs stayed folded under her. I remembered then that it’s the first thing you to do when a sheep is down, try to get them to stand up. I though of how little I know about sheep. I went back to the barn and got a blanket and halter to lift her with and Jon called our neighbor and friend Jack. He has a truck, the plan was to lift her into it and get her to the barn.
By the time Jack got there, just 10 minutes later, Tess had lifted her head off the ground, a good sign. With Jack we lifted Tess again and this time she stood up. Her stomach seemed bloated, she seemed to be in a daze. After the sheep is standing, the next thing to do is get them to move, if you can. We pulled and pushed and Tess started to walk, then run, then flopped to the ground. We did this a couple of times, resting in between until she walked by herself into the barn. Then down she went, legs folded under her, head up, breathing heavy.
We decided not to call the Vet. Jon has lots more experience with sheep, and from his stories, I knew they probably wouldn’t be able to do much for Tess. I know sometimes, sheep just fall down and die, I’ve seen it, and it’s often one of those things you just never figure out.
Tess looks better than she did an hour ago. She got up and walked, her head is up and she is chewing her cud. I sat with her a bit and did a drawing, but then Simon came over and tried to eat my pencil.
Tess is the sweetest, friendliest sheep of the flock. She’s my first sheep. I don’t know much about sheep, except, just as quickly as they can die, they can get better. It seems to me Tess is getting better. We’ll keep an eye on her and see how it goes. Hopefully this is the last time she sits still enough for me to do a drawing of her.