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The Good Shepherd

Chloe-Romney Ewe

All summer, I watched a small lump grow at the top of one of my ewe’s back. I had asked the vet about it a couple months ago, and he assured me that it was just a bug bite, and to not worry about it. Now with breeding season upon us, I felt this lump, which had grown in size, should be looked at. I called the vet and we discussed various possibilities of what it might be, and he finally agreed that in order to get a good diagnosis, he would need to see her.

So in the chill of the early morning hours, we loaded the ewe into the back of our truck to drive her over the the vet’s house. By taking her to him, we save about $100 in a “farm call”. As my husband left to drive her over, I described where on the ewe’s back he would find the lump. My husband had not laid hands on this ewe for a couple months, so I knew he would have to search to find the growth which

Shepherd at VT Grand View Farm

concerned me. My husband takes care of  the “buildings and grounds,” on the farm, and I tend to our flock of Romney sheep. Often, my husband will find me in the pasture with the sheep. “What are you doing?” he will call out to me from the yard. I will holler back, “getting to know my sheep.” I can tell this response puzzles him, after all, we have owned the sheep for some time now, and well, shouldn’t I know them all by now?

After shearing, the sheep love to use the feeder as a scratching post.

The vet examined the lump, expressed it, cleaned it, and decided that I need not worry. The location and appearance did not indicate that the ewe had caseous lymphadenitis, which was my biggest concern. He also felt that the ewe otherwise, looked too healthy for it to be anything of concern, and he could not find any indication of infection. However, he agreed to run it by his resources whom had experience in skin lesions on sheep. In the end, the vet felt that she had nicked herself, perhaps on the hay feeder, as she loves using it as a scratching post.

When my husband arrived back home, he admitted that as he and our vet leaned over the ewe, peering into her long locks of wool, the vet said, “Only a woman would notice something like this.” I just smiled and thought, no, only a shepherd would notice when one of her sheep needs tending to.

John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”