Pet of the Day

February 27, 2010

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Rio, the Pet of the Day
Name: Rio
Age: Seven years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Merino, Hampshire Sheep
Home: Brenham, Texas, USA
   I got Rio as a show lamb, my senior year of High School for FFA (Future Farmers of America). I was the second one who got to choose which one I would be showing. He was the smallest in the group and the most unwilling to go with me! I had to get the halter on him and get him out of the pen all on my own... and I weigh just over 100 pounds! After getting used to me, he began to cry out to me as soon as I walked into the barn. He would run with me in the field, although I never gave him the five-mile run my Agriculture teacher wanted per day! He loved to get out of his pen and play with the other sheep and tease the goats across the barn. He was so happy!

    About a month after I got him, we noticed a lump on his belly about the size of a golf ball. I immediately informed my Agriculture teacher and he recommended a livestock vet. The vet said it could be this very rare disease and we had to keep him away from all the other sheep, goats and other livestock. We thought he might be happy in our backyard in the dog run that our dogs never used, but he cried like a baby! I did take him on several walks through my neighborhood during that time... people were quiet confused to see a lamb walking along side two large black labs. Once it was confirmed he did not have this very rare disease he was able to go back to the barn with all his sheep and goat friends! (The picture of him in his pink cover up is after they drained the lump on his tummy.)

    Now once when I was taking him out for a run, one of the guys in our barn let his one-year-old heifer, whose name was Dog, out of her pen. She wanted to play with Rio, which for these animals, means butting heads. Poor Rio stood behind me looking for protection! I wasn't sure what to do to make this 1/2-ton heifer stop charging me and Rio! Luckily Dog's owner came out and took her back to her pen until we finished Rio's run.

    I showed him in February 2004. He placed 3rd in the Light Weight Class and 11th over all, (top ten went to auction). I was so proud of him. He is now happily living out his live on a ranch in Brenham with two other sheep, a few miniature ponies and some goats. I was very sad to see him go at the end of my FFA project, but I am so happy to know that he is living out his life being happy and healthy!

    He is such a fun loving guy, literally frolicking in the field and butting heads with the other sheep. They are herd animals and feel comfort in numbers, so I never worried about him running off or wandering too far. He always could get back to his pen or me.

    He will always be my "lamb" no matter how old he gets! I have not seen him in a while, but I have a feeling that if I did, he would know me in an instant, even now!

Rio, the Pet of the Day

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