- A sheep has been fitted with a prosthetic leg after losing a limb in a hunter's snare.
- After an appeal for suggestions on how to relieve its discomfort, a local prosthetic specialist offered to help.
- Now Dolly is getting used to her new leg at an animal sanctuary.
A sheep which lost its leg in a snare trap is putting its best trotter forward after being fitted with a prosthetic leg.
"Dolly", as the sheep is now affectionately known, was spotted at a farm near Sutherland last year, while Gayl Basson from Fallen Angels Pet rescue in Cape Town was in the area to look at alpacas.
At one farm on her travels she spotted Dolly being bottle fed, and without a leg.
The farmer told Basson that she had been caught in a hunter's trap when she was a day or two old and had to have most of her leg amputated.
She could not keep up with the flock, and so was separated and kept with one other sheep to keep her company.
She would otherwise probably have been destined for slaughter in spite of her wool, so Basson took Dolly in to the Fallen Angels Pet Rescue Farm along the R27 near Melkbosstrand, north of Cape Town.
The centre is home mostly to surrendered and rescued dogs, particularly puppies born during the pandemic when their humans could not afford sterilisation.
Dolly, and her sheep friend Angel settled in well with the alpacas, and are a highlight for the visitors who take the short drive from Cape Town to visit the sanctuary to destress and give the animals some play time as they wait for new homes.
Dolly runs around with the nosy alpacas who were taken in from a drug rehabilitation centre.
The recovering addicts were not interacting with them as much as expected when the centre introduced them as comfort animals.
Watching Dolly, Basson was concerned that she was struggling to keep up with Angel and the alpacas, who like to rush off to inspect any new developments at the centre.
They have also taken in ponies, and, many pigs who were once "cute teacup size" pets, but were swiftly surrendered when they became too big.
After realising that Dolly's spine was twisting from her awkward gait, Basson put out a question to neighbours and asked if anyone had any ideas on how to make Dolly's life a little easier.
Prosthetics specialist Eugene Roussouw from Sunset Beach down the road contacted her, and said he had never done a prosthetic limb for an animal, but he would like to give it a try.
Prosthetics have become common for "tripod" dogs and even injured horses.
Fallen Angels co-founder Shireen Williams said Dolly was measured, casts were taken, and the sheep had to lose a little bit of weight so that there would be less stress on the prosthesis.
On Friday Dolly had her final fitting. Farm animal handler Joe Ntobola said she seemed to be getting used to her new walk.
When the food bowls come out, she also uses the prosthesis to tap the humans to make sure she is not left out.
The artificial limb gets taken off at night when she sleeps.
In the meantime, Dolly has also settled into her new home well, and she and Angel are readying themselves for being shorn in a few weeks when the shearer arrives to fetch their thick wool.
"She really looks happy with her little leg," said Basson.