Blood everywhere, mom screaming, and a German Shepherd sitting there quietly, as if nothing had happened, but some awful had happened.
About a month after the lamb tag-in for the fair, the Neu family were cleaning stalls and had tied their lambs up outside, Chris was in the barn and Stephanie said, “it’s awfully quiet out there,” because usually when they are not in their environment, they are baaaing and making noises. She walked around where she had tied them to a picnic table, but this time she saw the most horrific sight she could have seen.
The Neu’s had a german shepherd, who they have had for years. The dog had been around their lambs for the last three years, ever since they started 4H. The dog actually, they thought, she was a lamb and they were her kids. She had laid down with them in their pen.
Not this time, to their horror, she had taken a huge bite out of Olivia’s lamb’s neck. Stephanie said,“ I mean huge, blood everywhere, it was terrible. I started screaming at Chris get out here…
“This is too bad, I don’t know what to do.”
They called a couple of friends, one being Dave High from Lucasville, because that is who they had gotten the lambs from. High said they needed to call Jeb Coriell.
Coriell came over and they asked him, what he would do. He started feeling around the lamb and said, “if we can get this lamb through this, I really think you have a good lamb.”
Both High and Coriell told the Neu’s that if nothing else, they would learn a lot this year, more than what most people could learn in twelve years.
They put the lamb in the back of the truck and took him to Shawnee Animal Clinic, where they did emergency surgery.
“Olivia was so devasted, she wanted to show, so we felt like we had to get the lamb fixed if at all possible.”
They kept the lamb overnight and they picked it up the next day. From that day on, toward the end of the school year, and every day, even up until the day of weigh-in,” we were doing wound car, twice a day. Flushing out the wound every single morning before school thru the summer.”
Olivia would have to get up before school at 6:00 in the morning, go down to the barn and flush out the wound, plus pick the scabs off the wound, all this before she went to school. It was a good thing school was almost over. Olivia’s work was not finished, she would have to repeat that process every evening.She said she had promised her mom she would take care of it, if they would go ahead and let the lamb have surgery. She said that she did get a little tired of having to take care of the lamb every day, but she knew it was her responsibility
Her parents said that she couldn’t even work with the lamb for a while, because they were afraid to bother its neck.
The last month before fair, it was healing up really well, they were able to start working with it. It is here, where Olivia, went into overdrive and was working with the lamb three times a day, everyday. She promised her mom she would take care of it, if they would go ahead and let the lamb have surgery. She said that she did get a little tired of having to take care of the lamb every day, but she knew it was her responsibility.
“We get to the fair and everybody was like, ‘You’ve learned a lot this year…if nothing else, you’ve learned a lot.’ And we said back to them, yes we are experts in lambs and healing them, so if that happens to you, we can fix you right up”.
By the time it was the day of the show, they felt they had worked with the lamb so much, that she was almost broke, they felt they could do almost anything with her. But,just like children, when Olivia got it in the ring, where you want the lamb to brace, her lamb just wasn’t doing that. Her mom, Stephanie said,” she probably would have done even better,if it had. She won second in her class, but she ended up getting best in Scioto County!”
The family was worried because the judge said that she was a little soft, she wasn’t bracing like she should, he could tell she was a powerful lamb,but not doing what she should have been doing.
Not giving up, Olivia took that bit of information and when it came time for showmanship, she got in there and ended up getting first place in her division, the junior division, for showmanship, just by fixing what the judge had told her.
“It’s actually been the hardest year yet the most rewarding year. So many tears, so much work, telling an 11 year old, this is what you wanted to do, so you have to put in the work, said Stephanie.
“So many people helped us, it takes a village, the Coriell’s,(Jeb and Rachel) the Johnson’s (Jason and Christy), High and others, we wouldn’t have made it without them.”
This was Olivia’s third year showing and her nine year old sister, Layla’s first year to show.
Olivia said that the day her lamb got hurt, it scared her. The blood didn’t scare her, but she did think her lamb was going to die. Olivia’s lamb’s name, was Donatello. And she said that her friend Miranda Johnson, had a lamb named Michelangelo, both names taken from the Ninji Turtles.
Thinking, as she went in the ring and ending up winning first in Sci0to County, Olivia said,“my hard work paid off!”
When it came to showmanship, she said she took what the judge said and when he came to her, she had to push into her lamb. “Normally, I would do it all the time.” And when she won showmanship, she said it was awesome. She said she and her best friend were together and she got first and her friend got second.
Stephanie and her husband didn’t do 4H, but were so happy they did this as a family. “ love our evenings down at the barn, even if it was working on a disgusting lamb. All of us down there at the barn, that’s what our evenings were all summer, it was as if the lamb was a pet and the times were simpler.
We already miss it and are planning for next year.” Olivia added, ” It was all worth it in the end.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins 740-353-3101ext. 1928