I knew something was wrong when Griselle didn’t come to the gate this morning for the skin from the pineapple I cut up last night.
Actually I knew something was wrong when I fed the sheep yesterday afternoon.
“Soon”, I thought as I tried to feed Griselle hay in the barn and she just circled around and around as if she couldn’t see it, “we’ll have to put her down. But not today”.
Griselle kept walking away from the sheep’s hay feeder and going to where the donkeys were eating. First Lulu chased her away by putting her head down and pushing her, but when Griselle kept going back Lulu turned and kicked. She didn’t make contact, and Griselle just kept trying.
That’s when I tried to feed her in the barn. When that didn’t work, I once more guided her to the sheep’s feeder and finally, she plunged her head in the hay and ate with the other sheep.
This kind of thing has happened a couple of times before and Griselle always seemed to recover from it. So I thought she’d be okay.
This morning, when Griselle wasn’t with the other sheep, Jon fed the animals and I took a quick walk around the pasture. There were no tracks in the snow to follow. When I couldn’t find Griselle I got my snowshoes to make a more thorough search.
By now I knew she was dead, I just couldn’t imagine where she was.
I was surprised when Socks, Asher, Issachar and the donkeys followed me out to the back pasture. Usually, they don’t go that far in the snow. This time it didn’t take me long to find Griselle. Her body was on the edge of the marsh.
She must have wandered off and died early in the evening before the snow stopped. I was in my studio then out shoveling snow during that time, so if she was calling out, I would have heard her. That makes me believe she died a quick and natural death.
Griselle was one of the sheep we got from our friend Donna who rescued her from a farmer who couldn’t care for her and the four other Romney sheep.
Griselle was old. I’d been feeding her grain because she had a hard time keeping weight on and only shearing her once a year because her wool didn’t grow as quickly as it used to. I thought this would be her last summer with us.
Bless you, Griselle and your long-lived life. You were a good sheep.