This is part two.

 

We were on the Isle of Bute

Across from Wemyss Bay

I think it was Easter.

Erica’s dog

A beautiful

Ridgeback

Called Simba

Was off the lead.

 

There was no one around

Except for the sheep

Who took flight

towards the Clyde.

 

Beautiful scene

Not like you get in England.

Peaceful, silent, lush, green and calm

and

Three middle-aged sheep running towards the water.

One didn’t stop

It waded-in

Further and further,

Deeper.

 

This was the year before my entrance to medical school.

 

The panicked look that sheep always seem to possess

was accentuated by fear

and cold water.

I waded-in.

 

Simba now under control.

The sheep,

Fearful

For, isn’t that what sheep are;

Turned and swam

Into deeper water.

I pursued,

Talking calmly,

Lovingly.

 

The sheep was slowing.

I could tell

Its winter coat,

heavy with water

Was most likely

Slowing her down.

Like

Swimming

With Doc Marten’s

Made of wool.

 

After a time.

I dragged the sheep.

OK, I’ll call her Morag.

Back to the shore.

By then she was still.

I can imagine her last thoughts,

Panic,

terror.

 

My mind set on redemption

I started chest compressions.

They were ineffectual.

I couldn’t bring myself

To engage my lips with Morag’s

The physiognomy

Was all wrong

That,

And the gaping teeth;

Diastema

Bloated saliva.

 

Morag died.

Simba lived.

 

I went home.

And now, what, nearly 30 years later,

I consider Erica and Simba and

Morag

And in all likelihood

She was with baby;

Not only the death of a sheep

But her unborn lamb.

 

What did the farmer think?

Picture the scene.

Shame.

Stupidity.

And, even now, although I have told this story during resuscitation training courses with doctor, nurses and paramedics, I consider whether publication is right, whether it is too revealing. After all, I participated in a crime, was witness and accomplice. I feel now shame. The post-hoc rationalisation at the time was, that the only feasible outcome was Simba put-down, Erica or, perhaps her dad fined. What was the correct decision? What were the farmer’s thoughts? Did she consider that her sheep had strayed into the water and become caught in a current? Was there consideration that a dog with origins in the Veld had startled one of her flock and precipitated an unusual sequence of events.

Forgive me Morag

Forgive me farmer.

 

Whenever I look at a Ridgeback, this story spins through my mind.

 

lamb

One comment

  1. Rod,

    What a sad tale… I don’t think you told me this one. Sorry you had such an experience. I can understand how its memory lingers.

    Nigel

    Like

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