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When I started at high school I knew I loved animals, but sheep? I just kind of thought, you know, they plodded along and stuck together, that’s all I really knew. However I was lucky enough that my school had a little farm. By year 8 I had managed to convince my family to take home a sick little lamb that needed to be bottle fed due to not walking for the first couple of days of her life. She was a fighter, I named her Cas. She was this gorgeous, fuzzy, little white thing that followed me everywhere, if I went around a corner too fast for her to keep up she’d start baaing for me. I felt awful when I went on school camp and she would cry every night with a special little baa calling out for me. But I did come home and she still loved me just as much. We had a little nappy on her with a hole cut out for her tail so she could stay inside with us, she would sit on the heating vents to keep warm and as she grew bigger she would jump out of her box at night and join me in my bed. She used to jump on the couch of a night and tap me so I would lay her down, at this stage a pretty darn big lamb, half on my lap half off because she wasn’t going to fit on it anymore! Eventually she got too big for inside and went back to the school farm so she could roam around in big paddocks with her little sheep friends. And coming down to visit her, I don’t think I had ever seen anything, even a human, as excited as she was to see me.

While she was at the farm, she ended up becoming pregnant. Not at all what I had planned and maybe not what I had wanted in my stress that she would be hurt or become ill through the process. On the day, however, I managed to get her firstborn to breathe and pulled out her second born that she couldn’t seem to focus on because she already had one beautiful boy to look after and it was all perfect! I could see in her the relief she felt with her head in my lap, I could see she needed me there and it was pretty magical to see her have the bond I had with her, with her own two little cute fuzzy white things. 4 years later and we now have Cas and her first born, Buster, with us at our new home and are expecting Rascal to be coming to live with us soon too! I never knew sheep could have such personalities and I can tell you Buster and Cas are two very different little sheep, so unique and with traits I can describe just like any human trait, with emotions of fear, excitement, joy and sadness that are just as easily identifiable as they are in people, if we look; if we let ourselves see the truth. Cas is Buster’s safety blanket, just as I am to Cas and my mum is to me and many other people. Emotion is not limited to humans and compassion is more easily found in animals in my opinion and I’m so glad these three beautiful creatures have come into my life to teach me this.

Stephanie McDonald

RIP CAS 2019