Beef cattle farmers Kellie and Brendan Payne have had to say goodbye to their rescue calf BB, who had formed a special bond with their pet cavalier dogs.
BB, along with the rescue lamb Bubbles, grew up with two cavaliers, Bobo and Bear, and the animals became an unlikely family on the Strathmerton farm.
Mrs Payne, who used to call the animals ‘the four amigos’, was devastated after BB was bitten by a brown snake on November 21.
“A friend of ours works at the farm where the calf came from; she was two to four weeks premature and the mum didn’t know how to look after it because it was too small,” she said.
“She was way too small to even go near another cow.
“We got the lamb from a friend’s sheep farm and it was calling out for its mum, I said ‘Oh, she’s so cute’, and my friend said her mum had died that week.
“I said we could take her, she was only tiny then and now she’s massive."
As well as BB, Bubbles developed behavioural traits from the dogs and Mrs Payne called her a ‘Lambalier’, half-cavalier, half-lamb.
“Everyone asks, ‘Are you sure she’s a sheep?’,” Mrs Payne said.
“She wouldn’t survive in a paddock, she wouldn’t know what to do.”
Mrs Payne said Bubbles felt the loss after BB died.
“She would look for BB all the time, she’s been sleeping in BB’s bed and she’s become really destructive which she wasn’t before, it shows she’s mourning,” she said.
An autopsy on BB discovered she had half a heart and a veterinarian from Cobram said it was surprising she had lived to 17.5 months old.