Jeffery, a long-time resident of Cook Peak, died Tuesday, April 26, 2016, at the ripe old age of twelve. That’s sixty-four in human years and quite an achievement for a sheep! He will always be remembered for his massive wool coat, happy disposition, and keen observational skills, which served as an alarm system.
Born in 2004 in Kelso Valley, CA, Jeffery was destined to become a 4-H lamb and sold to market. Due to an unfortunate accident with a horse weeks after his birth, Jeffery’s hind leg was broken, landing him at a local vet to be euthanized. Knowing the lamb was otherwise a healthy sheep and worthy of a good home, the vet set the tiny leg in a hot pink cast and called the Cooks.
Jeffery spent the next few weeks bonding with the Cooks on their back patio. He drank formula from a baby bottle on a schedule and wore a plastic bag over his cast on rainy days. Once his leg healed, he moved to the barnyard where he bonded with a gelding named Silverado. Jeffery grew up fast. He enjoyed late afternoon walks with his humans, their horses, a dog and a chicken named Mary. When puberty arrived, Jeffery rode in the backseat of the Cook’s pick-up truck to the local high school where he was banded (castrated). 4-H students and staff were surprised when Jeffery jumped out of the truck like a dog.
In his golden years, Jeffery enjoyed the company of Wilma and her three pigs who lived on the other side of his fence. Amber, the horse, often slept next to his pen for companionship. When invaded by free-ranging chickens in search for pill bugs, Jeffery didn’t mind. He chewed his cud and watched them or dozed in the sunshine. And when the Ravens picked his wool to line their nests, he gave freely and never flinched.
“I’m sad Jeffery is gone,” said Ann. “It wasn’t easy to say goodbye to such an iconic figure of Cook Peak. I’ll never forget the last time I took him for a walk. Liz and Ellen rode along on their horses. Jeffery was full grown and very, very strong. I had him on a leash like a dog, but it was debatable as to who was walking whom. He wanted to go with the girls and their horses into a field, so he came up from behind me, between my legs and carried me off on his back. I was mutton busting and could have suffered serious injury. After I bailed into a ditch and checked to make sure nothing was broken, I got the giggles and limped home.”
At Jeffery’s death, he was attended by a veterinarian and his human parents who comforted him. They stroked his face and told him what a good boy he was and how much they loved him as he fell asleep forever. Rest in peace, Jeffery.
A portrait of Jeffery.
Jeffery stayed warm during the snow of 2008.
Although this scene resembles a butchering, Jeffery is getting a haircut.
My daughter is using my good sewing scissors… Who would have thought she would later become a successful cosmetologist. Jeffery only got half a haircut that day. Both kids developed too many blisters to continue.