Disabled Lamb Kiki in Dartmouth MA uses NH Integrated Wheelchair

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DARTMOUTH – Almost everyone has heard the phrase “Live your best life”.

Does this apply to lambs?

You bet yes!

Kiki is a 4 month old lamb born without the use of his legs. They are bent and unable to stretch and straighten to reach the ground. She has neurological issues that cause her body to twitch and her eyes to flutter when lying on her left side.

She was rejected by her mother at birth.

When Kiki was 11 days old, she was rescued by an animal sanctuary in Dartmouth.

“She’s very happy. She doesn’t know she can’t walk,” said Deb Devlin of Don’t Forget Us PET Animal Sanctuary in Dartmouth. It’s a nonprofit group that relies on private donations to help care for animals.

Kiki came to the animal sanctuary, which houses an array of disabled and older farm animals, through a breeder who couldn’t keep her. Rather than put the little lamb down, which is common practice when an animal is deformed, the rancher looked for someone to take him away.

“He has the biggest heart and you could hear the tears in his voice,” Devlin said when the breeder asked him to welcome Kiki. “I don’t know how anyone could have said ‘no’ to him.”

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A social media star

So how does a little lamb who can’t walk and struggle with neurological issues live his best life?

For starters, Kiki may not know it, but she’s rocking the social media circuit. She can be seen on the animal shelter’s Facebook page almost every day — and doesn’t do typical lamb stuff. She visits local cafes, visits Santa Claus, hits the beach or hangs out at the other Don’t Forget Us PET US animal sanctuary in Duxbury.

She’s also a fashionista in her own right who wears tank tops, hats, rain gear, bandanas, crowns, and even bunny ears for an Easter egg hunt.

Kiki, Dartmouth's handicapped lamb, is a fashionista who wears this waterproof outfit.

Social media comments from as far away as Australia were posted on the Don’t Forget Us PET US Facebook page. It could make her an international sensation.

Her admirers online send her gifts and donations – Amazon boxes for her are stacked halfway up a door in a single image.

“She loves musical toys that light up,” Devlin said, adding that Kiki recognizes when “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is playing on one.

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Kiki, Dartmouth's handicapped lamb, loves her light-up musical toys.

The help of an “animal communicator”

Caring for Kiki is hard work and her care is shared with fellow animal sanctuary Duxbury, run by Meghan King.

Kiki does not take any medication, Devlin said, and when asked if Kiki was in pain, Devlin said no, but during physical therapy it was determined that Kiki had one happy tail wagging and one angry wagging.

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“I’ve never done this before, but contacted an animal communicator,” Devlin said. An animal communicator, according to animaltalk.net, uses telepathic communication to determine how an animal is feeling physically and emotionally. They are more commonly known as animal whisperers.

“She’s not in pain, but she doesn’t like physical therapy,” Devlin said of learning about Kiki from the animal communicator.

People with limited abilities contacted Kiki. Devlin said she was taking Kiki to a Connecticut vet for specialist testing and along the way they stopped to visit a 4-year-old girl who needs a special type of wheelchair to give her of mobility. The mother, Devlin said, heard about Kiki and asked if the little lamb could visit her daughter.

Kiki makes a new friend as she visits a vet in Connecticut

It’s All About The Animals in Rochester learned that Walkin’ Pets by Handicappedpets.com in New Hampshire wanted to donate to a farm animal. When Walkin’ Pets heard about Kiki, they donated a four-wheeled wheelchair that allows Kiki to stand. Although her legs are off the ground, her body is supported by a sling, and volunteers from the animal shelter move her around the farm.

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Possible cause of Kiki’s disabilities

Kiki recently tested positive for Cache Valley virus, which Devlin says is transmitted to sheep by infected mosquitoes. If the ewe is pregnant, the virus can infect the unborn lamb. This can result in lambs being stillborn or born with malformations. Because Kiki was saved from slaughter, Devlin thinks she might be one of the few – maybe the only – lamb living with the virus.

Kiki’s prognosis is uncertain as there are no other known Devlin test cases.

As Kiki ages and if she grows at a normal rate, she could grow up to 100-150 pounds as a sheep. This is something Devlin is acutely aware of and knows adjustments in Kiki’s care will need to continue now that Don’t Forget Us PET US is her permanent home.

“However long her ‘forever’ is, she will have a happy life and a good life,” Devlin said.

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Standard-Times digital producer Linda Roy can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @LindaRoy_TBS. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to the Standard-Times.

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