A Uniquely Special Sheep
“Aww, poor Stewie”. That’s what we often find ourselves saying whenever we see him up and about in the barn or pasture.
Of course, there really isn’t anything to pity about Stewie. After all, he has a good life here at the Lewis Oliver Farm where he’s surrounded by his friends -both the fleeced and two legged variety-who love and care for him deeply.
He spends most of his days happily grazing in the pasture, relaxing in the barn and greeting visitors over the pasture fence. And yet, there’s something sadly sweet about him that just tugs at our hearts.
Perhaps it’s the seemingly nervous expression on his face or his awkward appearance that make us feel a little sorry for him at times.
The only male sheep among our flock , Stewie, along with his pal “Bitsie”, came to us a few years ago from a farm in Greenlawn after it had closed down leaving them and several other sheep in need of a new home. (the other sheep found homes at Hoyt Farm and at the Smithtown Historical Society)
One of a Kind
Stewie is a hair sheep which means, unlike our other four sheep, he doesn’t grow wool , he grows course hair which naturally sheds once a year. In Stewie’s case, however, the shedding process only seems to take place along his sides leaving him with an odd looking ridge of hair down his spine which gets sheared off every Spring.
In addition to his Mohawk style hair-do, Stewie’s barrel-shaped body a top those little toothpick legs of his really set him apart from the flock.
But what has really earned Stewie a soft spot in our hearts is seeing how his passive and forgiving nature coupled with his unfortunate lack of agility, often leaves him with the short end of the stick and on the low end of the barnyard totem pole.
Whereas the other animals who are a bit more coordinated and athletic than Stewie can be extremely difficult to round up at times, Stewie remains relatively easy for us to catch. This means he’s often first in line for the necessary unpleasantries of annual immunizations, shearing and hoof trimming.
An Unexpected Road Trip
In fact, as we recently wrote about, Stewie’s touch of klutziness earned him an unwanted spot in the trailer which was used to transport three of our other sheep to the Huntington Sheep to Shawl Festival held earlier this month. Stewie, an unintended target who had already been sheared a week earlier, wound up getting caught up in all the confusion, herded into the trailer and sent to the festival with the others.
And while he’s always first in line at undesirable times, Stewie has learned to submissively hang back when we feed the animals their hay each morning and night. To avoid being pushed out of the way, he waits until all of the other animals have established their position at the hay stations before attempting to squeeze himself into the food line.
Nice Sheep Don’t Always Finish Last!
Rest assured, Stewie’s gentle demeanor doesn’t always work to his disadvantage. Because of his trusting nature he allows us to get close enough to him for the occasional and much enjoyed head scratch. We are also able to sneak him an extra treat or two when the others aren’t looking.
But most notably and what most people who visit the farm may not know is that Stewie’s easygoing nature earned him the opportunity to represent the Lewis Oliver Farm and serve as the ‘sheep of honor’ at the former Town of Huntington Councilman (and Stewie’s namesake), Stu Besen’s retirement party in 2009.
During his time in office, Stu Besen led the battle to preserve the Lewis Oliver Farm. His dedication and persistence cumulated in the 2007 joint purchase of the property by the Town of Huntington and Suffolk County.
We along with everyone in the community are grateful for his efforts without which Stewie the sheep and all of the other animals wouldn’t have the Lewis Oliver Farm to call their home.
*100% of our animal care related costs are funded solely through private donation. If you would like to help us to help Stewie and the rest of our animals, please visit our Donate Now page where you can make a tax deductible donation to help pay for food, housing and veterinary care for all of our animals. Thank you!