The Story of Nobby

Nobby was born on the morning of Friday 22nd January 2016. By mid-afternoon it was clear his mother didn't want him, so we took it upon us to raise him ourselves.

But without his mummy Nobby was lonely - thankfully, I knew just the dog for the job. I put Ben into Nobby's pen. Nobby was nervous at first, but soon settled when Ben started licking his face. I stood and watched them for half an hour. Ben lay down, and to my delight, Nobby joined him, snuggled in close, and the pair soon fell asleep.

The first night of his life the as-yet-unnamed Nobby was spent in the kitchen. Just before bed, to stop him from crying, I placed him on my lap. He fell asleep to the ten o'clock news. I got up at 2 in the morning to feed him, but he wouldn't drink. He missed the company of Ben. I didn't try feeding him at night again and he never looked back.

With Ben's help Nobby thrived.

It was perhaps because of Ben's constant company that Nobby showed to fear of dogs at all - even Jess's intensity went right over his head.

A little over a week later, Fred came along (the little white bottom on the right). Jess didn't quite know what to do with the lamb that wouldn't run away.

Nobby's first walk out to the fields, freshly halter trained. It only took him one 10 minute lesson to get the hang of it.

Nobby was still oblivious to Collie Stares.

Wherever Nobby went, Fred was sure to follow.

Still playing games with Daddy Ben and Auntie Jess.

Nobby loved his Ben. It was shortly after this photo was taken that Ben passed away from cancer.

Life for Nobby carried on. He was fearless in the face of animals bigger than himself.

Come April, Nobby found he himself was the bigger animal as we were inundated with pet lambs. Here he is with a very young Millie.

His and Fred's first taste of grass...

...and Blue Belle's tail. Yummy.

Weaning off of their daily bottles of milk went down about as well as can be expected.

Nobby tried out a new headcollar.

Nobby found himself with four little ewes to look after. This is him with a tiny Honey:

Nobby and Fred both reached selling weight, but only Fred went. With Fred gone, Nobby embraced life as an outdoor lamb.

Before long he found himself bundled into by car's boot and taken out for his first adventure.

Nobby loved his first walk in the park, and so his adventures began...

The beach!

An old castle!

The beach again!

Nobby confused a lot of dogs on his days out.

And made lots of friends.

Going for so many walks meant lots of baths.

His last adventure was in the forest at sunset.

And if it had to end, I'm glad it ended like this - a beautiful walk with friends as the sun went down.

Nobby's little flock grew as they were joined by Suckie (hiding just behind Margo on the left).

But a failed castration meant that Nobby was getting more volatile to be around thanks to his hormones, and the tough decision was made to sell him.

 He was ready to be sold back in June, but he enjoyed three extra months that no lambs like him would have usually gotten. He was the best pet lamb I ever had, and if I have one that is half as good as Nobby one day I'll be blessed.

Nobby Goes

After a conversation with a vet, I made the impossibly difficult decision to let Nobby go. In the the past few weeks he's become potentially dangerous - his castration didn't work, and so I was left with what was more-or-less an entire ram. Weighing in at 66 kilograms, if Nobby suddenly decided to charge at me there would be little I could do to stop him - on a couple of occasions he has tried, but thankfully I managed to get a gate between us unschathed both times. My luck would only last so long.

In the back of my mind I always knew that this could be a possibility for him, but I'd hoped that it wouldn't happen, even if it was through my sheer force of will alone. But even I had to admit defeat when I found out that an operation on him may very well cost him his life.

I have to admit that going to the field with the halter to bring him to the pens was very difficult. He saw me and came running over, as did his ladies. The girls followed us down the hill and stood at the gate and watched him go. They're not upset that he's gone - Nobby was always more human than lamb.

Dad took Nobby, a group of ewes and an old ram off in the trailer. Later that evening, we returned to the saleyard to find them. They were in this pen waiting for the auction to start. As soon as he saw me Nobby climbed up on the gate and called for me. I gave him a scratch around the ears and on his back where he likes it.

I had a look at some of his neighbours, but I didn't go far. Any time I went out of sight he would call for me to come back again.

And then the auction began. I found a good position ringside and waited with dread for lot number 64.

He came into the ring early - he followed the man who was keeping track of tag numbers and the drovers just put him in the ring as he was already there, I found out later.

And while all of the other sheep were running around and panicked in the ring, Nobby went over to the dealers and said hello. I'd been spotted standing beside him earlier on and a few people had asked about him. Pet lambs stand out in a place like this.

Nobby kept alive his tradition of having his photo taken with people.

And then he was sold and the sale carried on. Our ram was next, then our group of ewes.

I knew a lot of these faces well too.

After all of our sheep were sold I went in search of Nobby. After a lot few minutes I found him in a pen with others bought by the same dealer. I went in, gave him a hug goodbye, and left him before I had a chance to burst into tears.

Goodbye, Nobby. I'll miss you, dude.