We’re all familiar with Mary who had a little lamb that followed her to school one day. Now, meet Marley. He is a young rescue sheep who follows his dog sibling, a 10-year-old Lab named Jess, everywhere. Not only that, according to his owner Ali Vaughan of Carlisle, Cumbria, in the U.K., 6-month-old Marley also shares food from the same bowl as Jess, loves to go on leash walks, plays fetch and prefers to relax inside with his family instead of graze in the three acres of grassy fields outside their home.
“We had a massive garden that was really overgrown so I thought a sheep would be ideal for keeping it sufficiently mowed,” Vaughan told Metro U.K. “Little did I know it’d be a while before he chomped his first bit of grass.”
The orphan Valais Blacknose Valley sheep fell ill within two weeks of being adopted by the Vaughan family. Suffering from a life-threatening joint condition, the little lamb — who resembled a shaggy poodle puppy — needed constant care and slept inside on a dog bed. The whole family, including Vaughan’s husband and two young children, learned how to bottle-feed the farm animal.
“Our dog, Jess, immediately took to him and would lie at the side of him at night. It soon became clear that Marley was picking up traits from Jess,” said Vaughan.
Once the lamb was nursed back to health, it was obvious the animals were now best friends who wanted to do everything together. However, Marley still isn’t a huge fan of going outdoors, so the Vaughan family just got another sheep (a brown Ryeland named Bear) in the hopes that he’ll be a more natural influence on Marley.
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“I knew we needed to get Marley a sheep companion,” said Ali. “We want him to know he’s a sheep and to be outdoors like a sheep – after all he’s not very well house-trained. We do have a barn where he should be staying where it is nice and cozy.”
Luckily, Marley warmed up to Bear quickly and now the two sheep enjoy a bit of a “bromance,” reports the Belfast Telegraph.
“Within a week Bear had Marley out eating grass and doing more sheep-like things, but he’s still 90% dog,” says Vaughan, who is currently considering adopting yet another sheep.