With the completion of the new fence on the lower five acres of the Animal Messenger Sanctuary property, I could welcome another resident: Celeste, the mother of the twins Sunshine and Moonglow.
Sunshine was the little black lamb who came to me as what is known as a “bummer lamb,” which means the lamb is not nursing, whether because of health compromise, rejection by the mother due to illness or inadequate milk supply, or the mother’s death. Ever since nursing Sunshine back to health, I have held the vision of reuniting her family. In the picture to the left, she was a week old (you can see her umbilical cord).
First, I purchased Sunshine’s twin, Moonglow. I don’t typically buy animals, because I don’t want to contribute to the livestock industry and there are plenty of other animals needing a home. This was an unusual case, though. In the interests of bringing the sisters back together, I paid for Moonglow. She helped Sunshine make the transition from living in the house to joining the other sanctuary sheep, as Moonglow was already versed in flock culture.
Four months later, I was able to obtain Celeste, on my mission to reunite mother and daughters. When she arrived, their connection was noted, not by joyous greeting, but by immediate acceptance, complete absence of head butting as boundary setting, and proximity during eating.
It was a week or so before the unrelated sheep would allow Celeste to eat from the same pile as them, but Celeste and her daughters ate together companionably from the first. I had learned from the founding ovine members of the sanctuary that mother and child are usually grazing closest together within the flock throughout their lives if they are given a chance to continue the bond that exists at birth.
Now the Celestial family roams happily together, and Celeste is an accepted member of the larger flock. I often find her lying with Fleur-de-Lys, the other mother of twins, like women gravitating toward those with similar life experience.