Trudy’s was the first ‘rescue’ sheep for Honey’s Pledge. We already had provided a home for four coloured sheep, who came from a local property, where they were well loved and cared for.
I first saw Trudy in summer when driving from on a Monday morning from our property into Melbourne, where I was working for the week. Driving along a quiet country road I saw a sheep, dragging her front leg, and with blood visible on her body. She was on the verge of the road hiding in the trees. I stopped but was unable to get close and did not want to distress the sheep further.
I was out of range for my mobile and too early to contact the shire officers. I drove until in range and, locating the correct shire, advised that there was a sheep on the road, her location, and that she was injured. I also left my contact details so I could be contacted if the sheep was not claimed.
Now these were the days when I thought the system worked, that all such reports would be acted on immediately, and that the correct process would be followed re impounding and so on………so I assumed the sheep would be taken into care……..
At the end of the week I was driving back, and was horrified to see the sheep, still on the side of the road,
At the time I was pregnant, driving a small sedan, and very unsuitably dressed for sheep wrangling, in a dress and sandals. And I was of course out of mobile range.
So I drove back until in range and rang the shire. I got through to the ranger who advised he could bot attend until later, when it would be well after dark. While I was desperately thinking who I could call on for assistance, a tractor came along, driven by a local farmer. He was surprised to be flagged down by a pregnant ‘damsel in distress’…he obviously thought my car had broken down. He was bemused when I explained I needed help to catch an injured sheep about 1 k down the road.
Even though he obviously thought I was crazy, he willingly drove to his farm, collected his sheep dog and returned in his ute, With the dogs assistance the hapless sheep was quickly caught. The farmer looked at her, thin, and injured and told me it was okay, he would slit her throat and put her out of her misery. Quickly I explained that I wanted to take the sheep to care for her…he then pointed out that she was ‘only worth $6 at most……’
I quickly answered that I loved all animals and would love to care for her…he shrugged and carried her to my car. He advised against putting her in the back seat for my own safety, and placed the sheep in the boot of my car. Knowing I would be the subject of a story he would tell others for weeks about the crazy pregnant lady in the pink dress, a thanked him, and started a very slow drive home. En route I was frantically calling my husband, to meet me at home, to life the sheep out.
Finally able to track him down, I begged him to get home immediately so we could get, Trudy, as I had named her , out of the boot and into a stable to commence her care.
At the time I did not have a supply of straw so I put down a horse rug, and we gently lifted Trudy out of my car and into the stable. Our first priority was water…and oh did she drink, and drink, and drink….
The following morning our vet attended to assess her injuries, Poor Trudy had a badly fracture front leg. This was set in plaster. She also had a huge flank wound, the size of a dinner plate, that wen done to the muscle. The vet cleaned and dressed this and advised us to continue dressings.
So Trudy stayed in the stable, which we filled with straw, and we nursed her. Luckily I was on leave, as Trudy could not stand once she had laid down, and so I would regularly stand her up, as well as finding her fresh grass, and doing her dressings. On day 4 we found why she was unable to stand herself up, a huge abscess, the size of a grapefruit, in her shoulder joint. So our nursing now included flushing it out.
Trudy would proudly ride in the back of the 4WD on her follow up visits to the vet. Her plaster cast was replaced with a splint. The would on her flank decreased down to the size of a 50 cent piece.
Finally the vet gave permission for Trudy to leave her stable. We removed her sprint, built a yard, and let her out. It was a most magic moment, as Trudy took off and bounced for over 10 minutes round and around…boing boing boing!
Weeks later we were able to release her into the paddock where she chased our existing four sheep until they accepted her as part of the flock.
Trudy is the matriarch of our ‘flotsam and jetsam’ flock of rescue sheep who roam the olive grove. She has a ‘peg leg’ and the shearer always comments on the huge scar on her flank,
Whenever I do the drive to Melbourne I pass what I think of as ‘Trudy’s spot’ and thank goodness she survived. About 3k along is what I think of as ‘Jeremy’s spot……another story!