Lambing time and a missing dog story with a happy ending - Jill Thorp

We’ve had some bitterly cold mornings recently, the sort of cold that renders your fingers almost useless.

Jill feared the worst when one of her dogs went missing. (YPN).

Much to our dismay, a heavy fall of snow arrived one evening and continued through to morning.

We were both up and out in the fields as soon as it was light. The heater box was ready, plenty of clean pens to house any that had lambed in the snow.

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Much to our relief, nobody had and once the sun arrived, the snow was quick to vanish. John-William’s black Texels and Cheviots are all inside, such is his insistence that he is at the birth of every lamb.

His pockets are bulging with latex gloves, ready to be quickly pulled on at the first sign of a water bag! His pleasure at being able to lamb his own sheep is immeasurable and he proudly announces to the new mother: “You have a beautiful gimmer lamb” or “ Oh, look a big tup lamb, well done”. He takes the whole gender reveal to a new level!

It’s a hard time for the dogs as well. They work tirelessly, sometimes coming home with sore ribs after an angry ewe has stood her ground.

Our young dog, Sam, is still a bit too eager to be used on the lambing ewes so Sweep has to put in overtime. In between checks he sleeps on the back of the bike, soaking up the sunshine. Boo and Wilma have discovered the delights of lambing time.

They whine constantly at the door, desperate to go rummaging in the fields or muck trailer. One day last week we thought the worst had happened when Boo went missing.

We’d searched high and low, shouted and whistled and checked every building without any luck. I tried not to think of all the people that were out walking on the farm.

I doubted anyone would have picked her up, her bared fangs are usually enough to put the bravest of dog lovers off. But I’m sure if someone wanted her, they’d find a way.

Waves of panic started to wash over me as the realisation that she’d been stolen became more likely. I knew if she’d been taken I’d never see her again.

The thought was both inconceivable and terrifying, so I started calling her again. Nothing. Paul phoned, there was no sign of her anywhere.

As I slumped down on an upturned bucket in the yard, something caught my eye. A wiry, brown nose poking out of the back door of the muck trailer.

I marched over, panic being replaced by rage. And there she was, in all her sheep afterbirth munching glory.

I glared down at her as she sheepishly sunk lower into the filthy straw. Whilst climbing into the wheelbarrow and clawing her way up the sides of the trailer seemed like a good plan, she’d clearly not thought out her exit.

I swung the back door open and lifted her down. Tail clamped between her legs she vanished into the house where she remained for some time.

Needless to say open windows and air freshener were required as Boo filled the entire house with an eye-wateringly pungent aroma!