Sometimes a good friend is a life saver.
That's certainly been true for orphaned lambs Gary and Penny.
Gary was found abandoned at a livestock auction. It's possible his mother had given birth in the truck on the way there, or perhaps in the holding pens. Unfortunately, Gary's mother was sold at auction, leaving tiny Gary, only a few hours old, all alone.
A farmer who was attending the auction found Gary and took pity on the tiny lamb. He took Gary home and called Deborah Pearce, founder of Where Pigs Fly, an animal sanctuary located four hours away in New South Wales, Australia.
Pearce agreed to adopt the orphan lamb, and sent three volunteers on the long trip to collect him. While they were on the road, one of the farmer's ewes gave birth and rejected the baby.
The farmer asked Pearce if she'd take the second orphan as well. She agreed, saying;
"Baby lambs do better when they have company...So we gave both Gary and Penny a home at Where Pigs Fly."
When the volunteers arrived, the tiny lambs were frightened and disoriented.
"They were just babies and had their lives turned upside down," said Pearce.
"Strange people, strange places. No mothers. I cannot imagine what was going through their minds."
Gary and Penny's chances of survival were slim because they had not gotten any of their mothers' colostrum milk. Colostrum is crucial in building an infant lamb's immune system.
According to Pearce, "It's always touch and go when lambs are born and don't have the immune-building colostrum."
Nonetheless, Pearce and all the volunteers at Where Pigs Fly committed to doing everything possible to save these two tiny orphans. And so far, things are looking up.
Gary and Penny have taken great comfort in each other's company. Pearce says she believes the strong bond they have developed will span their lifetime.
They do everything together: playing, eating, sleeping, and mischievously chasing the sanctuary's hens around the grounds.
"One is never far from the other, day or night...I love the way they curl up to sleep," Pearce says.
Now approaching two months old, Gary and Penny's chances of survival increase by the day.
You can learn more about Where Pigs Fly, and donate to help the sanctuary save precious lives like Gary's and Penny's here.
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