Bah-Bah, Black Sheep…..Have You Any Wool?
Last week in the middle of February while driving along the Lake of Constance I noticed a pasture with a small group of sheep that seemed to be very forlorn and hungry. It was pouring rain and I noticed there was no shelter, no water, and the grass was eaten down to the ground. I knew that a severe weather front was moving in calling for snow and blizzard conditions. I contacted the police but they could not locate the owner. It seems that this farmer, a woman had gone on vacation and just abandoned the sheep until her return. I was extremely agitated and could not rest until I could save these sheep from further harm. The next day I took my video camera and returned to the sheep that were now covered in snow as they desperately tried to dig for food through several inches of snow. One black sheep, the smallest of the group lay deathly still in the snow with its head buried between its legs. I cried out thinking that the tiny sheep was dead but it slowly lifted its head to my relief. I knew that he did not have much time. As I raced against the clock I immediately began taking pictures and video and sent them to the cantonal vetenary offices. I called them every hour on the hour until I received a response to my rescue effort. Normally the cantonal offices are slow to respond but I knew that time was running out for the tiny black sheep. Finally I received a call from a cantonal veterinarian and was told that he was assigned to confiscate the sheep and bring them to a shelter. The little black sheep still clung to life when the veterinarian lifted him in his arms and carried him to safety. I was told he made a full recovery. This little black sheep was certainly not going to give his master three bags full…
The story of Ushi
A very close friend told me long ago that our pets choose us and not the other way around and that certainly was the case with Ushi. The first time we saw her she was bunched together in a large outdoor pen with half a dozen bright eyed, rambunctious bulldog pups. But unlike the other pups who were gleefully having the time of their lives, a very angelic and innocent looking bulldog pup sat alone in the corner of the pen. She seemed to be studying us quite intensively as opposed to the other pups that were only interested in playing with each other. Not only was her behavior quite out of the ordinary but her brindle coat and tiger colors made her stand out as well from the other dogs. Out of curiosity my son bent down to inspect her more closely and then as if to say “it’s time to go home” Ushi lifted her front paws signaling him to lift her out of the pen. He placed her on the ground in front of him and instead of running away she sat steadfast like a little tin soldier and with the courage of a lioness she let out a bark that sealed her fate as well as ours. She had chosen her keepers and from that day forward she would forever hold the keys to our hearts. As Ushi grew older we knew that she was a very special dog. In the morning hours I often found her stretched out on the lawn under the trees where I would find her laying motionless covered with little sparrows which sat on her back and played leap frog across her paws. Sometimes in the afternoon hours I would find the neighbors cat rolling on her back while Ushi licked her belly ever so gently. In the early evening hours I would find Ushi sitting calmly next to the side of a wheel chair, while a severely disabled boy stroked her head and Ushi looked up at him smiling until the last rays of sunlight dipped below the horizon. Ushi loved life and life loved her. Although her candle went out long before her time, I am reminded of a quote by Roger Caras who said “ Dogs are not our whole life but, they make our lives whole” and Ushi did just that for all who were blessed by her presence.