In Memory of Aiden
Marji Beach, Education Director
Some animals leave an indelible mark on your heart. Objectively they are no more or less special than any other individual. But still, their absence aches in a way that feels different. For me, Aiden is one such being. He almost made it to 10. So close. What can I say that would capture his essence in a salient way? He smelled of the earth. The wool behind his ears was velvet soft. He had a luscious, full tail that swept grandly behind him. When he would get lost from his flock, you could hear his unique baaa a 1/4 mile away. He was speckled. If you scratched his armpit, he would lift his leg. Dig down in the wool near the base of his tail and his neck would arch, his tongue stick out, and he’d chomp at the air like a dog. He lived a full life. But it still was not long enough.
He arrived frail and tiny, a speckled black-and-white lamb abandoned by his mom during a storm. Perhaps it was his orphaning or maybe pneumonia that left him with strange habits. Even after visits to the veterinary hospital, no one could figure out why Aiden licked walls or was unable to climb a short step. No matter, Aiden was Aiden and he was perfect in every way.
For the first few months of his life, he lived in my office. He wore a diaper, people. It was adorable. After his morning zoomies, I would drape him over my lap as I worked at the computer…and he’d fall asleep in my lap! We rescued another lamb around the same time, and she did her best to teach Aiden how to “lamb” properly. She would leap up steps and kick her feet up, and he would toddle after her.
Aiden grew into his quirks, always preferring humans over his fellow sheep. If he saw a human, he would race down the hillside to say hi. On tours, he would accompany the group. He had a protective side too. When a loose dog jumped over a fence, onto the sanctuary property, it was Aiden who charged and chased him off. And when another sheep (gently) head-butted my daughter, despite his age and blindness, Aiden rammed the sheep away.
Anyone who came on a tour of the sanctuary met Aiden. He was the only sheep in the flock who truly enjoyed being touched.
Aiden developed kidney disease, which eventually blinded him. The last year of his life was spent in the barn and adjacent pasture – he had access to the same area that the other sheep did but he would only venture about 100 feet from the barn. Usually one of the other sheep would hang out with him. Caregivers and volunteers would visit with him frequently to make sure he was getting the attention and love he appreciated. In his last week of life, our newest sheep resident, Jett, kept Aiden company.
He died overnight, warm and safe with his flock. What a gift. All of us here will miss him.
When an irrevocable love comes into your life can you tell where heaven meets earth? When you feel a breeze pass by is it love that beats your heart creating air in motion? And when a dew drop whispers upon a seed, is it love that grows into a beautiful flower? To me Aiden, it was you that created the devotion to turn all that was dead into exquisite life with such fervor. And how ironic that your eyes didn’t let you see the beauty of the world that last year of your life, but you created a beauty that didn’t need to be seen. As winter symbolizes frailty and death, this is what I saw today, your frail body not living. But you being ever the sage and strong willed, you chose to die one day before winter so we would not remember you like that. Fall symbolizes reflection, a balance between light and dark, preparing for an end and letting go. Thank you for thinking of us who you left behind. So that instead of the frailty we will instead reflect on what your love brought to us. Aiden, your complete soul to me symbolizes all that love is and should be. When the dark days of wintertide are over and I am greeted by new life under the warm sun it will be your name I whisper with every sunset, every heartbeat, because I know you created that beauty for us.
Thank you Aiden for sharing your beauty, your life and all that is in between. Rest in love and peace. – Roni Seabury, Animal Caregiver
Aiden is the first sheep-friend I ever met – and the first I ever loved. He was patient and kind and loving to me as a new animal caregiver; and for the many years to follow. Though I left to run our adoption center 3 years ago – my friend Aiden and I were always happy to re-unite when I came to visit. This picture is from just a few months ago — happily re-connecting with Lenny, Gemini, Aiden, and Studley. – Jan Galeazzi, Rescue Ranch Manager