The Red Boy...a wayward Lamb 2012JMS

The Red Lamb...(prelude)
A few of you know that Mary Freiberg has been generous enough to take in lambs that were not doing as well as they should. Her rehab (as I call it) has really helped them recover from the stress of being weaned. Some, I fear, would not have made it without the extra care and love that she gives them.
 One of the this group of 11 was a Reddish colored ram lamb which she named Red Boy (oh, brother!) as he quickly endeared himself by of all ways, being noisy. Soon after they settled in, when she went out to feed. She decided to have her Aussie "Spice" assist her. You see Red lamb was the first to greet her as she came out of the feed shed. Spice had to back him off so that Mary could put out their food. It was not long before Red Boy would put his head down and argue with Spice that he should not have to move out of the way.

This soon became a favorite game between Spice and Red Boy (both in their adolescence).
 When I loaded up the lambs to take them to our position at the church Red Boy was pompous and reluctant to load up: however he soon relented when Pic took over the loading process.  Mary had purchased a beautiful red halter with gold color metal rings for Red boy as he was going to be with her and the goat at their nativity scene, a manger with the baby Jesus.
 Upon arriving the lambs were reluctant to disembark after their ride to the large dirt lot, adjacent to the church, bordered by a large parking lot., This was going to be the scene of the shepherds watching over the flock when an angel appears to the shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus. With the dropping of the tail gate Red Boy who was the last to load was now the first available to unload. 4:30pm right on time. Jerry was pleased that all his planning was paying off but was aware the night fall was only a 1/2 hour away. Reluctant Red Boy, had to be removed by his halter from the truck. It is usually the case that when the rest of the flock sees they can get out they join in being released. Red Boy was to be their example but he was going to have no part in being the scapegoat and the others were not falling for the ploy.
 Red Boy finally decided to take off, so around to the front of the truck he went only finding that Pic had read his mind and was diligently guarding against his escape thru the parking lot. Not willing to give up his escape he returned to the back of the truck where his brothers and sisters remained loaded still unwilling to join him: and of course there was Pic still guarding the parking lot side. Red Boy noticed that there was much more open space on that side and decided to bolt for his freedom. He was pretty fast but Pic was faster. Several hundred feet later deep in the empty parking lot Pic had him turned and headed him back to the truck.
 Red Boy however was not going to give up his quest for freedom. He gave a look indicating he saw the truck and was resigned to go back so Jerry flanked Pic off of him. Red Boy was proud that Jerry fell for his deception and took the opportunity to bolt once again. This time across the parking lot to the wilderness area on the other side of the entrance road to the church.

RED BOY escapes...

Pic was ready and the race once again was on. Pic, reading Red Boy's determination, knew that his turning Red Boy back to the truck this time was going to take extraordinary measures so he came up and tried to grab onto Red Boy's halter; both going at full speed and both dedicated to their task.

Jerry watched this scene and noticed that the two of them were getting dangerously close to the entrance road. Willing to lose the Red Boy but not willing to lose Pic he whistled out the that-will-do command (Pic's call off). By the time he heard it and responded the two of them ,Red Boy and Pic, had crossed the entrance road and down the other side. Pic returned and Red Boy dashed and hid. His escape to freedom into the wilderness had been successful!

Well not until Jerry, Pic and Mary had to give up their search for him. Show time was about to begin and the show must go on. Matt, Scott, Dylan now joined them as they donned their shepherd costumes and settled the flock with Pic's and Flash's help. But Frito the Kashmir goat was reluctant to leave with Mary so Dylan and Spice were deployed to assist.

 Mary as she knelt in her venue with Frito in the manger prayed for Red Boy and his safe return.
Back at the flock Matt inquired with Jerry about Red Boy's chances of survival. Jerry was hopeful but feared Red Boy would meet his fate at the hands of local coyotes.

Well, 900 people enjoyed their hay rides around the church visiting venue after venue. Our venue had 3 projectors that displayed a large mural on the church's wall, a bright light shining down thru a cloud upon us shepherds watching over the flock.

With all that traffic Red Boy stayed well hidden and was able to avoid the search party that looked for him after the event that went well past the advertised time of 8:30 pm. to 9:30pm. Now he was going to experience the old adage "be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it! "

Awaking from his sleep he heard noises that seemed familiar but somehow different. He did not have to wait long. They found him. A couple of coyotes who looking for their night time meal from the tract homes that bordered their wilderness area, came across Red Boys scent and followed it to him.

Red boy could tell they had bad intentions and that he was not able to escape. No matter, had he not fought and had success roughing it up with Spice? He was determined that he was not going to be their dinner. The coyotes were not as confident. Surely they could have this lamb for their dinner? The fight was on and Red Boy put up such a brave fight that they soon lost interest. The local cats and dogs were much easier game. So they left and Red Boy assessed his losses. The halter had been torn off and a long minor but long gash to his front left leg. Now very proud of himself (having escaped, earned his freedom, hidden, and fought for his life) but exhausted he settled in for a good night's sleep.

Red Boy... (captured)

Waking the next morning Red Boy thought about the events of the day before and decided to find greener pastures. The dried out vegetation that abounded where he was hiding just did not measure up to the alfalfa and grain he was used to. Remembering the access road to the church he started his way back. Once there he remembered that the church was where he escaped from so up the road he went. Sure enough, across the road was a large green park with lots of grass and plants. Ah, a welcomed breakfast. He did not notice the car following him.

 He had been spotted by a good Samaritan and was being followed. Arriving at the park he began eating and sampling what the park had to offer; meanwhile the police had been called on this lamb loitering in the park. It did not take long for the police to show up and observe his illegal behavior. Checking with the church the officer was able to determine that Red Boy was in fact an escapee from the Nativity event held the night before.

Animal control was called and lured by a head of lettuce Red Boy was brought into custody. Once again he was riding in the back of a truck. Freedom lost over a head of lettuce. Oh brother! Once delivered to the pen at Animal Control his picture was taken and he was given a number.

Authorities notified the church of his incarceration. His mug shot plastered on the internet. How can you beat that ? Well, his cell mate was a pig! "Not so bad", Red Boy thought; after all they had grain, alfalfa, a decent size pen and a barn stall. He and his celli shared stories of their adventures and how they ended up in jail. He now had a record and was in the system.

Meanwhile back at the church Jerry, Mary, Matt, sheep, Pic, Spice and Frito the goat arrived at the church and were told by security of the fate of Red Boy. Soon Mary and Sarah the event coordinator (after hugging in joyous celebration of the news of Red Boy) marched off to the office to call Animal control to confirm Red Boy's incarceration.

The weather had made a turn for the worse and the rest of our participation in the outdoor event was cancelled. Red Boy would have to stay jailed until the 25 sheep and goat were returned home. Once off loaded at Mary's home the internet search began and there on the pages of the Riverside West Animal Shelter was Red Boy's mug shot complete with his incarceration number. He was in the system! It was after business hours so Red Boy could not be bailed out. He would have to spend another night in jail with his cell mate the pig.

Mary was both delighted that Red Boy was safe but also embarrassed that he was arrested after running away, for loitering in the park and jailed. Jerry warned her that he would come home with an attitude that he was worldly, being exposed to freedom and that there was no telling what he had been schooled in during his incarceration with of all things a pig! He now was in the system, a number and mug shot. He may not come home the same Red Boy that had left. The next day Red Boy was awakened as his celli was released and the rest of his jail time was to be spent alone.

RED BOY...(reunited)

He did not know that as soon as the phone lines were open at the shelter Mary called and obtained the necessary information for his release. They wanted proof of ownership. What? Ah, Jerry had the answer! His Sheep Inventory List but Scott had Jerry's briefcase. OK, phone Scott. Scott scanned the Sheep Inventory List and emailed it to Mary. She then down loaded and printed it. We were off to free the imprisoned Red Boy.

Not so easy...after the hour wait came the interview in the adoption center's office. Identification of both Red Boy from his mug shot and that of Jerry as the owner. Then the interview "how was it that Red Boy was on the loose?". Questions answered, the interviewer satisfied that I was a good parent, we were instructed to take our paperwork, added to by the adoption officer, to the admissions office. There we received the additional news that in order to spring Red Boy bail had to be paid before his release.

This done, we were instructed where to pick up Red Boy. We found his cell and someone to release him to us, but alas he was not all that sure he wanted to go home. After all there he was sunning himself with the whole cell to himself and we disturbed him. Just as I thought he had become instutionalized! Soon he was literally picked up and loaded into the back of the truck.

During the ride home Mary was once again warned that Red Boy may have an attitude. Arriving at home with the truck backed into the backyard with the other sheep Red Boy was released. No hesitation on his part this time, he jumped out and immediately began fighting with the two older ram lambs in the exercise yard. They quickly knocked him down. When he got up Jerry was there to march him off to isolation (for fighting in the yard) in the sheep shed where he could be heard whining all night long. Mary's public humiliation was not yet over as Red Boy's story had also made the newspaper.

REGIONAL- Mary had an AWOL lamb | Breaking News | - Press-Enterprise

Red Boy...(the epilogue)

Demonstrating a lack of imagination Red Boy's caretaker could not understand why this handsome young lamb would run away from home. Could have it been as simple as he wanted to taste freedom?

Well, 5 months later mother nature began to lift the veil of secrecy. Three of his sisters gave birth. One was a small but healthy red male lamb the other two were still births. It seems that he was an adventure some young male. With only his sisters for company he did what Rams do ...breed the ewes. Yup, he did not care that they were his sisters and that they all were considered too young for such behavior.

A week after breeding them he discovered that they were pregnant and he was going to be in big trouble. Not just because the ewes were his sisters but they were also considered under age. Fretting over this problem it seemed to him to take his one chance to go undiscovered at the nativity scene. When the tailgate dropped he sprang for his freedom.

It was not well after (5 months) when the ewes' owner researched his records to record the parentage of the newborn lambs to his young ewes that Red Boys lack of discretion was discovered.

Immediately their shepherd was on the phone demanding an explanation from their caretaker of 5 months earlier. He demanded to know what was going to be done to keep this from happening again. Red Boy had been adopted by the caretaker after his incarceration.

He was assured that Red Boy would be seeing the vet real soon for his castration. A fitting end to an incestuous sex offender. Satisfied with this resolution to the problem the shepherd was consoled only to find out weeks later the Red Boy was maturing into a beautiful young Ram!

Irate, the shepherd threatened to go to the press so the the city of Mentone Beach could be alerted to the presence of a child molester in their community. Once again he received assurances that Red Boy would not be a Ram much longer.

Alright, Red Boy received his sentence. He was to be castrated! Not much longer. Red Boy about two weeks later after his appeals were exhausted he was brought to the vet for the carrying out of his sentence. Shown here is Red Boy awaiting the carrying out of his sentence at the back of the vets' office.

Follow up reports of his condition have been very good. His health is very good and his behavior... a model citizen! Still willing to greet you but without the head butting he was known for before the carrying out of his sentence.