Mommy Marty and the lamb

December 22, 2009 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

BSPLambIf you follow me on Facebook, you know that my newborn granddaughter, Reagan, has been visiting  for the last couple of weeks. But my first experience of being a parent wasn’t Reagan, and it wasn’t even my own children.

When I was 7 years old, I became a mommy. And before you say, hey, Marty, you’re a guy and guys can’t be moms, believe me, gender is the least of the problems with me being a mommy. There were species issues here — because I was “mommy” to a lamb.

He was a tiny little orphan whose real mama had died giving birth to him. He belonged to my neighbor on our rural Idaho farm, and he’d asked my dad to come over and help with the lambing. I tagged along.

We drove home in my dad’s pickup truck with the lamb tucked into my coat. I bottle-fed him, kept him warm, and napped with him. I named him “Henry.” We played games together, and when I’d come home from school, Henry would come running with my dogs to meet me at the gate.

In fact, even when he was a full-grown ram, I tended to think of him as a wool-covered dog. I think he thought of himself that way, too. Until he died in old age, he would rub his head against my leg in affection, and follow me everywhere.

Whenever I’m asked how I decided to turn my love of animals into my career, I always tell this story in response — in fact, I did just that in the book “Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul.” Because while I don’t treat a lot of sheep these days, it was Henry who inspired me to become a veterinarian.

Happy Holidays to all of our Pet Connection friends, and “see” you next week!

Image: Not Henry, but still … pretty cute, huh?…

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