Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Sheep's Tale

Mikko, the Finn sheep

This is Lumi and Mikko. They are my two Finn sheep. Lumi (in front) is a ewe (girl sheep) and her name means "snow" in Finnish. Her fleece is white. Mikko is a wether (neutered boy sheep) and his name is a typical Finnish boy's name, I imagine something like Michael. There is a little "sheep humor" that goes like this: Neutered boys are called wethers because "they don't know whether they are a boy or a girl"!!! Lumi is quite a celebrity here because the fleece from her first shearing won Best of Show at our county fair. Mikko's fleece is considered a "fawn" color and when I spun up some of his wool, it was a creamy oatmeal color. Wonderful!
On New Year's Eve, Mikko had surgery for a urinary blockage. This is a serious condition for wethers and often times the animal has to be euthanized. I could not bear to put him to sleep right at the start of the New Year so I decided to go ahead with the surgery. The first few days after surgery were touch and go because Mikko wasn't eating. It was discovered that he had a fever, and blood work showed that he might be in kidney failure. Since I was out of town, my dear husband had to nurse Mikko along without me. The vet gave Mikko another antibiotic. Slowly, Mikko has improved and I'm delighted to say that he's back to acting like a normal sheep again! I believe small miracles happen all the time, even to sheep!
We are told that Mikko's life expectancy will only be for another 6 months or so. We are spoiling him and giving him the best life we can. He loves to have his back scratched so we are happy to do that for him every day. It is a bittersweet story. One day we will have to say good-bye.

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