Abandoned lamb strikes up special friendship with eight-year-old girl

Sarah Hughes, eight, is the best of friends with Luke the lamb.
Sarah Hughes, eight, is the best of friends with Luke the lamb.

A lamb born late in the season was left to fend for himself after he failed to form a bond with his mother.

The abandoned sheep would most likely have died if he had not struck up a friendship with eight-year-old Sarah Hughes.

And now the lamb – which was named Luke – goes everywhere with her.

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Sarah’s mum Victoria Leach, from Stanley, said: “They’re inseparable, they’ve become such good friends. She loves him to bits. The first thing Sarah does in the morning is go outside and make sure he has a bottle of milk.

“You can see them growing up together and you can really see the love between them.

“Sarah has been brought up with animals. She used to like raising chickens and in the past she has raised all sorts – she’s a proper farm girl.

Best friends, Sarah and Luke.

Best friends, Sarah and Luke.

“There have been other lambs in the past but this is the first one we have looked after quite so intensively.”

Victoria rents a smallholding and has 10 ewes. She tried her best to reintroduce Luke to his mother but it proved impossible.

“It was down to us to help him because otherwise he wouldn’t have survived,” she said. With his new family Luke goes on walks on a lead through the churchyard at Stanley and around pubs in the village.

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Victoria said: “He needs lots of exercise to build his muscles. We’ve met such lovely people through him. People confuse him for a poodle at first glance.”

But despite the bond between Luke and Sarah, the lamb will soon have to grow up and return to the field to live with other animals.

Victoria said: “He will be with us another for four weeks and then we will have to reintroduce him to being a sheep with independence.

“He will have to get used to being in a field on his own and fending for himself a bit - but he will have a home here with us for life.”