Labrador adopts orphaned lamb
Rejected by her mum and abandoned in a lonely field, Lily the lamb has been adopted by a loving foster parent no one would have picked - a family labrador in Palmerston North.
Lily and Shekel the labrador have formed an unlikely close bond since they met, sharing breakfast, bed and bottles.
Palmerston North resident Suzanne McMurtrie found the newborn lamb on her sister's lifestyle block in Pohangina on Friday.
"They are lambing at the moment but weren't home and we found a lamb stuck behind a fence," she said. "I picked her up and dropped her in the middle of the sheep but none seemed to claim her. A few hours later she was still on her own so we pulled out the mother and her twin and tried to get the separated lamb to feed."
Mrs McMurtrie said the ewe refused to accept Lily, but a special friend was waiting in the wings.
"The mother would just bowl her over so I said we would have her for a few weeks until she was weaned," she said. "The first day we brought the lamb home Shekel went boof on her head wanting to play. The lamb just rolled over, she's a tough wee thing."
Shekel and the lamb eat, sleep and play together on the lawn. Mrs McMurtrie said Shekel would always clean Lily after breakfast, and never fussed when Lily butted under her looking for milk. She's not sure if Shekel is being maternal.
"When we feed the lamb Shekel always washes her face, the thing mothers do for their babies," she said. "I don't think she thinks of Lily as her baby but she is very fond of her. And I don't think the lamb thinks she's a lamb.
"We're trying to teach her to eat grass - we figure if there is milk on it she might give it a nibble."
Lily will go to the Highland Home Christian Camp once she is weaned.
"They are wanting to get a few animals children can pet," she said.