It just doesn’t get any easier, friends. Unfortunately, we lost our beloved Betty 🐑 today. 😢 She passed early this morning, shortly before we got out to the barn. This video was taken last night around 10pm, had we known this was goodbye, we never would have left.
All our animal friends here are special to us and they all have a place in our heart, but some have a way of touching your heart in a deeply profound way. That was Betty.
Coming to us in 2019 at an estimated age of 3-6 as a companion for Sid, Betty was scared and pregnant with Gracie. Part of a sad situation and neglect case, Betty was so terrified of people that she would run from us if we even looked her way. She was essentially a feral sheep.
Over time and with the help of Sid, Betty slowly began to trust us. Things really changed for Betty when Gracie was born and Betty realized they were both safe in our care. Eventually Betty was comfortable enough around us to start seeking attention, and eventually demanding it. She quickly learned that she could paw at us if the neck scratching stopped and we’d start again.
Betty was an excellent momma to Gracie, and until just recently the leader of the flock. She was calm, and confident, while remaining vigilant for the dangers she had experienced at her previous home.
If you’ve been following us you’re probably well aware that Betty had been unwell of late. The 2 different vets that saw her were both leaning towards a nasty case of pneumonia, but didn’t rule out other potential causes for her breathing difficulties.
Just this last Friday Betty was seen by one of the vets who gave her a 3rd type of antibiotic and also drew more blood for additional testing. We have yet to get those results, and it may take up to two weeks to get them.
Ultimately we may never know what exactly took Betty from us. We will forever wonder if there was more we could have done. Without definitive answers we’re left feeling like maybe we let Betty and Gracie down somehow.
We all love you, and we all miss you already Betty. May the grass be evergreen and plentiful for you, sweet sheepie!
Betty’s story results from a network of caring people coming together to bring her to safety.
Betty found herself in a desperate situation along with over two dozen other animals, including ponies, donkeys, sheep, rabbits and even a feral kitten! Their elderly caretaker had experienced a considerable decline in his cognitive function. By the time those who could help became aware of his decline and were able to support him, the animals in his care experienced significant and prolonged neglect. Sadly, many lost their lives. The surviving animals were taken to a horse rescue for critical care, assessment, and rehoming.
We had taken in Sid a few weeks prior and were looking for a companion for him (sheep feel safest and most content in the company of fellow sheep).
We reached out to the horse rescue and offered a home to the most timid of the sheep. Looking back, I wish we could have taken in the small flock that was still waiting for homes, but we only had room for a companion for Sid at the time.
We borrowed a transport box (the same one that Sid came to us in) from Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary to bring Betty back to Lily’s Place. Lifting her into the transport box, which was the bed of our pickup truck, took the strength and patience of 4 people as she was scared, and as we found out later, pregnant!
When we arrived home, on October 19, 2019, she came out of that transport box and immediately ran to Sid.
Sid, however, ran behind us as he hadn’t lived with other sheep before and was a bit confused! Betty was scared of people, so it became quite the scene as Sid tried to stay behind us, and Betty tried to seek comfort in the only sheep she could see (Sid!).
In the weeks and months that followed, we slowly built up trust with Betty. Sid was a great model for Betty as she could watch how Sid interacted with us, including lessons on how to get the best scratches and snacks.
Almost 12 weeks after her arrival, Betty gave birth to Gracie, all on her own in the middle of the night. We had a barn camera on her stall (the lamb cam!), but we didn’t expect Grace’s arrival for another month! It was quite a surprise when Tim went out to the sheep's house that morning!
Betty is the most affectionate sheep at Lily’s Place and no longer fearful of humans. When she’s not seeking scratches from her caretakers, she’s being a great mom to Gracie, snoozing with Sid, soaking up the sun with Punky Brewster and Orphan Annie (two lambs who Betty enthusiastically welcomed into the flock the same year Gracie was born), and exploring our property (that used to be a golf course) looking for the best patches of grass! She seems to like greens at the ninth hole the best!
Betty passed at the sanctuary on March 21, 2023. Please see the memorial information at the top of this page.