The Perils of Cora Belle
Each year, it seems we have one lamb that really touches our heart. Last year it was Wally, the orphan lamb who loved to be loved and gave love in return by numerous lamby kisses. This year, it is Cora Belle. She was one of the last ones born and she was the smallest. She has grown a bit but still the smallest. Now we have been in the process of training our guardian dog, Nisa to accept the lambs and not see them as playmates. She has done pretty well except when it came to Cora Belle. I guess because she was the smallest and probably the slowest. Well, during moments when I was not focused the pasture, Nisa decided she wanted to play with this lamb. It happened soon after she was born. I was worried the little lamb was traumatized as she looked a bit dazed, but no physical signs of harm. I gathered her mother, Poppy and her sister Camelia and they continued bonding in the safe confines of a stall.
Cora Belle rebounded and while back in the pasture, she got stronger and participated in lamby games such as follow the leader and relay races across the pasture with her lamb cousins. She was still the smallest, but held her own. Now every time I would to a pasture check, I would always make sure that Cora Belle was in her mother’s care. During these checks, I discovered Cora Belle’s independent streak. Often she would be off exploring on her own. And she would only take note of where the rest of the flock was when her mother would be bellowing frantic calls for her baby. I felt for Poppy. It is hard to parent a child who marches to a different drummer.
Well, after the shearing of the adult sheep and the tagging and vaccinations of the babies, I thought I would try Nisa again. I had put her through training sessions with lambs and she seemed to have gotten it. But again, as soon as my back was turned, Nisa went after her favorite lamb, Cora Belle. This time, more damage occurred. She tore off her ear tag and gave her an abrasion on her thigh. I discovered this during my pasture check. I tried to catch her, but the injury did not effect her ability to run. I tried for a couple of days with no luck. I was getting worried that an infection might happen, or equally dire, fly strike. Finally today, I noticed she was limping. Ok, this was it, I was going to catch her regardless of hell or high water. I took a look at the sky and noted the very dark clouds on the horizon. Well, we might be getting a bit of hell and high water very soon. So time would be short, I went inside to retrieve my 16 year old son and member of the Cumberland High School track team. I figured with the limp Cora Belle might be easier to catch. My conclusion was not correct. The limp did not seem to affect her speed. We raced across the pasture, trying to corner her, anticipating her moves. Boy that lamb can change direction on a dime. Despite my burning lungs, it did my heart good she could move this fast. She must not be that bad. But I had to check her up close so I could stop worrying.
We finally had cornered her in a small dead end section of our corral. I still could mot see her injury clearly. At this moment I realized I had lost my glasses during the pursuit. I had taken a spill in the tall grass. Some Ian went to find them. I took the little one in the house to clean her wound. Putting on the found glasses, I saw her injury was larger than I thought. She had a large scab over most of her thigh and it had opened up. I cleaned her leg with peroxide and then put a big dose of iodine on it.
I realized that in order to prevent fly strike, I would need to cover the wound. So checking my first aid kit, found large gauze pads left over from my hubby’s broken collar bone recovery ( a story for another time.) Just the right size. And with some semi-expert skill, managed to adhere the gauze to the lamb’s thigh. After a penicillin shot for good measure, little Cora Belle is recuperating in her makeshift hospital, one of the stalls in the barn.
Out in the pasture, Poppy is calling for her lost baby. A little baahing answer comes from inside the barn. I wish they could be together, but some healing needs to take place first. I know Cora Belle would appreciate a few prayers thrown her way. A little lamb with her spunk is a treasure.