Lifestyle

My Pet: Lambie from Wunghnu

By Madeleine Caccianiga

Lambie is the local ewe from Wunghnu who spends her days helping keep the grass down at her owner Tamara Rathbone's family rental.

Ms Rathbone raised the lamb from a young age after a farmer alerted her of the orphaned animal.

Ironically the lamb became a permanent resident in the town nicknamed 1U.

Ms Rathbone said once the lamb grew up she became quite the handy lawn mower.

'Between mum and dads property and nans, she even went out to a family friends property to be a lawn mower out there,' she said.

'She always had purpose, if a paddock was filled with wire, Lambie was the best ewe for the job.'

While keeping the grass down at the Rathbone's family rental, friend and tenant Lawrence Rice found comfort in having the animal around.

'He just took over caring for her,' Ms Rathbone said.

'He started feeding her fresh hay and keeping up with her water - I think it gave him something to do,' she said.

Mr Rice lived the life of a sheerer for more than 30 years and managed 10 thousand acres of land on the Mornington Peninsula before settling in Wunghnu.

'It bought back my interest in sheep and memories of the good old days, having that lamb here,' he said.

Mr Rice exclaimed a recent hospital visit left him worried about the ewe.

'I came home and she wouldn't leave the fence, she was bellowing out all the time - I think she missed me,' he said. 'I'd miss her if she wasn't here.'

Happy to greet anyone who might feed her, Ms Rathbone said Lambie enjoys getting special treats.

'She used to eat all sorts of weird things - popcorn, left over food from the pantry, but her favourite treat is pringles,' she said.

'No particular flavor, she just loves pringles.'

She said Lambie enjoys the company of people more than being a part of the flock.

'She's more like Lawries pet dog than a sheep.'

Still, a born and bred woolly ewe, Lambie is known to throw a few head-butts now and then.

'She's knocked me over a few times, but it's always playful,' Ms Rathbone said.

Lambie may not by the only ewe in the small town - she is the one ewe in the Rathbone's family and Mr Rice's life.