Lamb about town

It’s not unusual to see the odd dog out and about with their owners but most people look twice when they see Judy or Phil Hepehi walking around Ipswich with their lamb Elsie May in tow.

Elsie May has become quite the lamb about town and is adored wherever she goes.

Judy and Phil have a bit of a habit of taking home rescue animals and Elsie May is the latest edition to their furry and feathery brood.

“We were visiting a sheep farmer and Phil ended up helping her deliver lamb twins by caesarean section,” Judy said.

“One died and the other one wasn’t expected to live, but she did.

“The sheep is named Lucy and we have had her for two years.”

So when another sheep farmer found himself with another little lamb, not expected to live he knew who to call.

Two months ago, Judy bought the prematurely born lamb home in a small box and sat her on the kitchen counter.

“I didn’t tell my husband. I just said I have a surprise,” Judy said.

When Phil held little Elsie May in his arms he asked Judy before even opening his eyes – ‘are we going to keep her?’

“Yes,” Judy said.

They set about feeding her with a syringe at first and after four days she was near death.

With tears streaming down her face she held the little woolly bundle close to her heart.

“I text Phil that she had passed away in my arms,” she said.

“Then I just shook her and said ‘don’t you die’.

“I took her to the vet and she said the shaking probably saved her life as the mucus had been shifted off her lungs.”

Now a healthy Elsie May is eight weeks old, has her own hand-made outfits and sports some modified Huggies nappies.

She spends her days helping Judy, who is a florist, with her flower arrangements and often features on her Instagram page.

She is one of the many lucky rescue animals that get to live on the Hepehi’s farm.

“As well as Elsie May and Lucy we also have a miniature horse Texas, three chickens, Lucia, Audrina and Olive, a rooster called Farmer, two ducks, Beatrix and Millie and a drake, Mr Potter,” Phil said.

“And of course our two dogs Martha and Wilba.”

Lucia, Martha and Wilba all sleep inside with the lucky Elsie May snuggled firmly between Phil and Judy.

“We are still feeding her every three hours, just like a human baby,” Judy said.

Phil and Judy were unable to have children of their own and say they are normal but a bit different.

“I always said I wanted two little girls, and now I do,” she said.

“We’re pretty chuffed.”

Actor Samuel Johnson with Elsie May at Boonah

Lucia the house chicken 

Beatrix and Mr Potter’s duckling


Elsie May in a modified Huggies nappy

Cuddles from doting parents

A stroll past Rafter & Rose

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