Shuswap animal sanctuary hopes to give Shira the blind sheep a better life

Tappen’s Twin Hearts raising funds for enhancements to shelter

Twin Hearts Animal Sanctuary in Tappen is raising funds to help outfit a part of their property to make it safe for Shira, a six-year-old hair sheep that is blind.

In a post on GoFundMe.com, sanctuary owner Diane Nicholson writes the farm they obtained Shira from had kept her in a barn for the past year, lacking a safe outdoor area for the blind sheep. Her previous owners didn’t know she was blind when they bought her.

According to Nicholson’s post, the confined housing left the sheep in poor health— emaciated and afflicted with worms, her coat greasy with yellow flakes emanating from her skin.

“The day she was brought to us, she had to leave her twin ewe lambs behind. We tried to obtain them for her, but the farmers wanted that particular lineage for breeding and did not wish to part with them. Such is the way of animal agriculture,” Nicholson writes.

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Nicholson states Shira was both mourning the loss of her ewes and dealing with health concerns when she came to Twin Hearts, but her first few weeks in Tappen started to turn things around.

“She inhaled the grass like a vacuum,” Nicholson writes.

“She started to relax, came to trust us, and forged a relationship with Koni, one of the goats.”

Putting Shira with the sanctuary’s other three sheep proved difficult. Nicholson wrote that it is would be hard for Shira to infiltrate the entrenched herd dynamics due to her blindness.

“They would probably eventually work it out, but in the meantime, she could well be hurt,” Nicholson writes.

Instead, Shira roams the yard on a tether with Keitou and Koni the Nubian goats. The tether is to keep her away from the drop-off on the property which the sighted animals can easily avoid, but creates an unsafe situation for the blind sheep.

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Twin Hearts is attempting to raise $5,000 to create a new shelter for Shira and her free-roaming friends, and to place sheep-panels in front of the steep drop-off in order to get Shira off her tether and experiencing a feeling of freedom that Nicholson states she has likely never known.

The GoFundMe campaign raising money for the upgrades to the sanctuary can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/help-give-shira-the-blind-sheep-a-good-life.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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