Saving Sheep on the Severn by John Vogler
On Sunday last, 13th May, a group of us led by Carl Leung were quietly paddling down the Severn, when rounding a bend a sad bleating was heard. A sheep had fallen down a steep and overgrown bank. Condemned to stand in the water and unable to climb back to safety its situation seemed dire. What to do? One option would be to land somewhere nearby and attempt to alert the person farming the land. But the spot seemed pretty remote with no nearby buildings. Another possibility, that we began to explore, was to land and use what lines we had to haul the sheep up the bank. However, the subject of our attention seemed very unwilling to submit to being tied up and rescued in this way. At this point John Fay paddled forward to save the situation. Exiting his kayak into thick riverside mud he began to scale the bank with a view to assisting the sheep to climb back itself. The initial result was that the sad animal fell into the river. But, John persevered and finally managed to shove the sheep sufficiently far up the bank for it to get a footing. With a few bounds it was free and trotted off to join the rest of its flock – much to the general relief.
Such a humane act deserves to be reported, but it is probably not unique. There are stories of cows being rescued by determined kayakers and even CPR being performed on half drowned ducks. Readers will surely know of other examples that deserve to be publicised.