Although the typical lifespan of a sheep ranges from eight to 12 years, many of those who live at our New York Shelter are in their early to mid-teens. These older sheep live in a special area where they can take it easy and don’t have to worry about keeping pace with the more vivacious youths in our flocks. In the comfort of what we call “the Bridge Club,” they gather with peers their own age and receive the specialized attention and healthcare they need.
As is to be expected with elderly mammals, a few are losing their eyesight as they age. One of the sheep, Sabrina, is now blind, but has adapted very well and continues to enjoy a very high quality of life. Like many Bridge Club members, she has been with us since her rescue in 1997 from a situation of severe neglect on farm in Albany, N.Y. Although she hardly made a peep in her youth, she is now extremely vocal. When she finds that the flock has gone ahead of her, she calls to the other sheep and only quiets down once she catches up to them.
Sabrina also has a lot to say whenever she hears us preparing feed. The seniors of the Bridge Club have few to no teeth, so they’re on a special diet. In addition to the soft hay they eat in the winter and the grass they graze on when the weather is warm, they are fed a mash of Timothy hay pellets and sweet feed, which they love. In fact, mash is Sabrina’s favorite thing — not counting her best friend Zelda!
Zelda was rescued in 2003 from a farm in Canisteo, N.Y., where she was used for breeding and endured extreme cruelty. Since joining the Bridge Club, she and Sabrina have become best pals, and the two are often seen sunning side-by-side in the afternoon or huddled together to sleep at night. Both are being treated for arthritis, which is another common ailment among sheep their age. We keep them as comfortable as possible so that they can fully enjoy their days together. And since they love spring and summer, these two are especially thrilled right now, spending lots of time together outside. We are so happy that these lovely ladies are living out their golden years here with us on the farm, and their love for one another is a joy to see.
Top photo: Sabrina (left) and Zelda (right)