Raising orphaned elephants is a team effort, and an important part of the team has 4 legs and woolly hearts.

Orphaned wild animals, separated from their biological families due to accidents or human intervention, often struggle to adapt to life in an orphanage. Enter the sheep – the surrogate family that steps in to fill the void. Sheep provide companionship, warmth, and a sense of belonging, vital elements for the emotional well-being of these young creatures.

In the animal kingdom, acceptance is a rare and precious commodity. However, sheep, known for their non-confrontational and comforting nature, readily accept orphaned wild animals into their space. This unconditional acceptance creates a unique bond, allowing the orphans to develop a sense of security and trust in their newfound family.

Following the passing of Nungu in October 2023 and the arrival of Phabeni in November 2023, it became evident that Lammie, our dedicated surrogate mom, required support in her caregiving duties. Lammie, who will be turning 10 years old this year, deserves a peaceful retirement. In light of this, a decision was made to introduce another sheep to HERD, not just to grant Lammie the rest she deserves but also to ensure that her nurturing legacy continues for the well-being of future orphaned elephants.

The story of Spotty began on a Tzaneen farm when Adine fetched him on December 10th, 2023. Interestingly, he was born in July, the same month as Phabeni. Managing two Cancerian personalities in the orphanage may be a handful, but the undeniable connection between them adds a unique dynamic to their shared journey.

Spotty swiftly adapted to life at the orphanage, and having Lammie as a companion worked wonders to ease his initial nerves. Phabeni, still acquainting himself with the human-sheep-elephant dynamic, took his time adjusting. Despite occasional clashes with Spotty, Phabeni’s spirited nature didn’t deter Spotty, who persistently sought connection. Over time, a beautiful friendship bloomed, with Phabeni, Spotty, and Lammie spending the majority of their days together.

Spotty has brought balance and harmony to the orphanage that transcends between ages and species. In addition to this heartwarming trio, Nandi and Spotty also forged a special bond. Although Lammie initially approached Nandi with caution, Spotty’s presence has helped ease the tension between them. Now, Nandi happily joins the trio on walks around the homestead, adding another layer to the interconnected relationships that make life at the orphanage truly special.

Since Spotty’s arrival, a remarkable improvement in Lammie’s well-being has been evident. It’s as if Spotty’s contagious energy has become a source of vitality for Lammie, giving her an extra spring in her step.

The heartwarming tale of the trio’s friendship not only stirs the emotions but also highlights the significance of the sheep’s presence in shaping the lives of the orphaned elephants.

Here are our top 5 facts about Spotty:

  • He is a Pedi sheep, which is a breed native to South Africa. They are small, hornless sheep and have long tails that vary in shape. Colours range from dark brown to tan brown and white (like Lammie)
  • Phabeni and Spotty initially connected over sekelbush that is brought to the homestead daily for snacking
  • His favourite part of the day is seeing fresh sekelbush being brought to the homestead and his walks with the mini herd
  • Like a cancer, he can hold a grudge, and has not forgiven Nadine, the vet student, after she gave him his vaccinations
  • The pattern of his coat makes it look like he is wearing his own spotty blanket!

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  1. So wonderful to read about the cohesiveness that is happening between the little Phaebini, Lammie, Spotty and Nandi.
    HERD truly is the hero to all they take in. Much admiration and respect to all of you.

  2. So interesting to learn about the dynamics between these unrelated species! Spotty is such a good match for the orphanage, helping Lammie and befriending Phabeni and Nandi. I’m pleased to know Nandi is included since that was not the case when Khanyisa was there. Very informative…thank you!🐑🐑🐘🐕❤️❤️❤️

    1. Because I own a, German Shepherd Dog, I’m very curious to hear more about Nandi and how she interacts with the elephants at HERD. I was delighted to see Nandi taking walks with them.

  3. I love HERD and what you all do to contribute to each other’s joy and well being. Thank you so much and may God continue blessing each of you as you make so many loving sacrifices to care for His beloved creatures.

  4. A very belated Welcome to Spotty from me!

    What a welcome addition to Herd’s mini-herd he has proved, and the first thing I noticed was a happier Lammie! Naturally she mourned her friend Dear Nungu and her Beloved charge Khanyisa left the nursery to join the Jabulani Herd. She was also not comfortable with Adine’s sweet dog Nandi. We don’t really know why. But then everything changed. A new young pedi-sheep, Spotty, arrived. A much needed companion for Lammie who also is “showing him the ropes”. The arrival of little bull Phabeni proved quite a challenge. Despite only very minor injuries, emotionally he was in a bad way, despite all the love and care he received on his arrival at HERD. He appeared lost and enveloped by grief. Wonderful Jabulani provided companionship and emotional support and he is bonding with Darling Lundi.
    Spotty has played a huge part here too. Phabeni has found a buddy in Spotty and Nandi and Lammie make up quite the adorable mini -herd. Spotty seems to have united them and it’s beautiful to see them together on their walks. Lammie may be ageing but I’m certain she’s enjoying having another little herd. It’s great to see Nandi included too. Yet again we are given a valuable lesson and at a very worrying time and in a frightening world; whatever our differences and initial wariness, with time and patience, we CAN live alongside each other if we try. We may never be best friends but if we at least embrace tolerance, respect and basic kindness, it’s a good start. So, Special Thanks to Spotty for bringing a new and optimistic dynamic to our dearly-loved “mini-herd within a herd! xxxx

  5. So lovely to read all these fascinating stories about the animals and… I wish you the best of luck with retiring Lammie! She doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere for now! Perhaps Spotty has indeed ‘regenerated’ the Grande Dame 🥰

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