Hillary Hendrickson and Sophia Deluz both had one goal in mind: rescue as many animals as could fit in their small SUV. The woman drove two hours from their home to a slaughterhouse in Corona, California.
The young women and two of their friends asked the owner to surrender six animals into their care, including a bonded mother and baby pair.
To their surprise, after a little negotiation, the owner surrendered two turkeys, two ducks, and a sheep and her tiny baby.
“It is set up like a kill market where customers can come in to choose their pig or goat or duck, and they are slaughtered right there in front of the other animals,” Hendrickson said. “We had no idea whether we would be able to save anyone.”
The sheep had given birth at the slaughterhouse merely days before, and the baby still had dried remnants of her umbilical cord attached to her. The women loaded all six animals into the SUV and left as quickly as they could.
“Both the sheep and lamb were very nervous, but I think the mom witnessed and had been through a lot,” Hendrickson said. “I don’t know if she had other babies taken from her previously, or had seen other animals killed in front of her … I’m just glad they won’t ever have to live like that again. It would’ve been a matter of time before they were separated from one another.”
Founder Gina Lynn and her team decided to name the pair after their rescuers: the mom was named Hillary, and her baby, Sophia.
The rescued birds were placed into forever homes at sanctuaries, and the mother sheep and her baby to their new home at New Life Animal Sanctuary.
It’s a classic case of “like mother, like daughter,” Hendrickson said.
“They’re in an individual pen with each other right now, which is right next to the pig enclosure,” Hendrickson explained. “Whenever a pig comes over to check them out, the mom chases them off. And now, the baby has started doing it too! She’s copying everything her mom does.”
While the pair has bonded with one another, they have been showing more and more interest in people. Slowly they are learning a little more each day that their rescuers aren’t there to hurt them.
“Mom is pretty sweet, much sweeter than expected,” Lynn said. “They’re both a little nervous around people, and understandably so, since they saw people killing animals all around them. But they’re incredibly resilient and have gotten very trusting of us.”
Both of the sheep need to be treated for worms, Lynn said they are in generally good health and that the baby is nursing well.
Hillary and Sophia will continue to live in their own pen together until the baby grows a bit more. At that time, the pair will be introduced to the sanctuary’s other hooved residents, including goats, a donkey, a llama and a pony.
While the friends who saved the sheep, they live over an hour away from the sanctuary, they plan to visit them at least once a month.
“It is so special that we could do this and we can’t wait to see how they settle into their new lives,” Hendrickson said. “It’s such a blessing that they’re able to be there — together.”
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