There is something special about the back roads of Vermont in early spring. On this particular day, I was heading home from work, ahead of my husband, when I came up to one of my favorite places.

The evening she heard that a lamb like this one, belonging to her neighbor, was stuck in a culvert, Carolynn Floryan knew she wouldn’t be able to rest unless she did what she could to help out. John Ewing/Staff Photographer, File

This place is the sheep farm owned by Dave, our good friend and veterinarian to our Collie then. Rolling fields dotted with sheep and new lambs surrounded by hillsides busting with pale pastel colors of new, budding foliage, promising the rich colors of the fall to come.

Standing quietly on the side of the road was Dave, enjoying the view, so I thought. I stopped and talked about how beautiful the evening was. He smiled briefly, than it was gone. He informed me that one of his lambs was stuck in a culvert under the town road. The opening entered into his field. Anxious sheep standing by the opening. Dave said the lamb was stuck at the other end and all efforts failed to get her out.

I immediately said I would help. He said it was his problem and not to worry. I headed home, but the thought of that cold, frightened lamb needing help would leave me sleepless that night. I made a quick U-turn and headed back to the farm. Just then, my husband, David (many Davids in my life), was coming in the other direction. I opened my window and yelled out, “Dave needs help back at the farm.” We both headed back to help.

As Dave was using a flashlight to show me where the lamb was, two eyes looked back at us over a wide pile of mud, too far away to pull her out. Those eyes would haunt me forever if we did not find a way to rescue her. Dave tried to send in his amazing Border Collie, but again there was too much mud.

By then another friend and neighbor, Frank, stopped to see what was happening. Four heads better than one. We are going to find out.


Realizing the only way out was the way she came in. That meant a very long pole, or maybe the town could dig up the culvert. That was not going to happen. Frank and I decided to go over to the new house being built on the farm and see what we could find. We came back with hammer, nails, two-by-fours and a 5-gallon plastic pail.

We nailed the pail to the end of a two-by-four. With some difficulty, we pushed past the mud and made contact with the lamb. Gently pushing the lamb backward, we added another length of two-by-four.

Luck has it that there was a hole in the road and culvert from winter plowing. I was able to stick my hand and arm in to grab her hind legs as she came close. I held on tight while Dave was able to get a rope around the hind legs. I held on while Dave, using a long branch, pushed the rope to the culvert opening. My husband was able to grab the rope and pull the lamb out to a welcoming, frantic mom.

A few years later, my friend Dave told me that the lamb we rescued turned out to be his best breeder. You never know what kind of adventure you will find on a quiet rural back road in Vermont.

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