Saturday, August 9, 2014

the saga of Toto lamb



I have started this blog post nearly a dozen times already, it is heavy on my heart and very near to it. And so I have pushed it aside. But recently I finished writing Toto's second book. His life has been an incredible journey to write about and so the timing to share more about Toto, is now. This little lamb, who is not very little anymore, continues to grow my heart and life in lots of different ways. There are many ups and downs with being his caretaker but with no regrets, I am blessed and beyond to be his shepherd.

Toto at 6 months
From birth, Toto's back hooves have been a struggle to figure out. I do believe as a result from his frozen start on life, the circulation is poor in his back legs which effects his hooves and mobility. I've spoken with and consulted in length with Veterinarians and other shepherds about what I can continue to do to keep Toto on his feet and comfortable. From other farmers and shepherds I have been told, it is time to let him go. Most would not have continued on this journey with him after the first week. I have been criticized for my continuous efforts in trying to remedy his feet and legs and my shepherd ethics have been heavily questioned. In all honesty, I have truly sought direction and peace on whether to even comment about that but it is part of Toto's journey and so it should be told. With no hesitation, I will also say that I am not a perfect shepherd and I am not always right. But I know with all of my heart that Toto was born in my flock for a reason. And it makes no difference whether those reasons are known to all of us or not. I do not take death lightly and every decision I have made has not been a lightly made one. I have held tightly to these words of wisdom from a Veterinarian and shepherd mentor in a short conversation we had one morning a few months ago, "Ya know..no one knows your sheep like you do. You have sought and worked for a solution for this lamb, no one can make choices for him like you can. What I would do is not necessarily what you should do". And like so many others, he stays in touch with Toto. He wants to know the good, the bad and the ugly. Every detail, he wants to know it all and does not offer criticism or judgement. For me, this is what's real. It is not about whether I am a good shepherd, a true one, one that needs to cut losses or one that needs to toughen up. It's about a little lamb we call Toto. The balance between being what a certain society tells us we have to be and listening to words, whether constructive or not and then to simply be quiet. To earnestly discern, to look beyond the obvious and to see with the heart. I know that Toto will not always be physically with me. His life whether short or long has impacted so many and that is no small thing. The reasons he is here are probably countless ones, there is no loss to me but as long as he thrives and keeps fighting, I will fight with him.

For the Toto lovers, his 2nd book will be available for sale in September. If he could talk, this little lamb wouldn't even need me. I am honored to be his voice and his caretaker. He's a remarkable little lamb.