momma mia

Two mornings ago, three strong men needed to lift and transport a pregnant ewe back here to the farm for further inspection and monitoring. Something appeared to be wrong with her leg and she wasn't able to stand herself up. I, along with everyone else, have taken to calling her Big Momma. And boy is she.
The vet came this morning after she was observed coughing and panting loudly during my my morning grain rounds. It took three more people to lift her so that she could have a look. In the end, it seems she must have stepped on something that cut her between her hoof, which led to infection, which led to foot pain, then immobility, lack of access to food and water, and eventually a weakened immune system that led to a lung infection. Top it all of, she is HUGELY pregnant with a due date unknown.
The vet seemed confident she would recover with some antibiotics, bandaging of the foot wound, and an occasional steam bath (!) when her breathing gets really bad. She's a strong lady in spite of her poor state. She also takes well to being comforted. I climb in her pen several times a day to wrap my arms around her, rub her neck, head, and belly. She looks right in my eyes and rests her chin on my knees or shoulder. Often her breathing will soften and she will seem to completely sink into these moments of peace and affection.
I feel such a strong connection to these sheep but know that one has to be practical when dealing with farm animals. There was a strong chance the vet could have deemed her state of affairs as hopeless and put Big Momma down this morning. Instead we will wait it out, hope for her continued improvement, and keep an eye out for signs of labor. Chances are, if she beats this infection and delivers without complication, she will be able to stand again, feed her babies, and resume life on the field.
Fingers crossed for this beautiful lady in the meantime.