This little sheep is taking lessons on how to be a lamb – because he thinks he’s a dog. Marley the sheep doesn’t like the cold, wind or rain and doesn’t even know how to eat grass.

The Valais Blacknose Valley woolly pet was orphaned and taken in by a family and became best mates with their dog Jess.

Marley, who is six-months-old, is now so big he has to move outside – but needs lessons on how to be a proper sheep because he’d rather prefer lying in a dog bed in front of the aga.

He eats from bowls, goes out for family walks – much preferring to be inside with his family.

Owner Ali Vaughan, a mum-of-two, is now trying to teach Marley to adapt to the outdoors where he belongs.

The 34-year-old said: ‘We absolutely love animals and have always had ducks and dogs. But when we moved into a farmhouse in September, with three acres of land, it seemed natural that we should add to our animal family.’

So when Ali, who runs her company Mucky Ducky from home, spotted an ad on Facebook from a local farmer appealing for a 5* home for an orphaned sheep, she knew had to have him. Ali, who originally hails from Portrush, Northern Ireland, said: ‘We had a massive garden that was really overgrown so I thought a sheep would be ideal for keeping it sufficiently mowed.

‘Little did I know it’d be a while before he chomped his first bit of grass.’ Marley’s breed is wild and shaggy so when he arrived at the family home in the beautiful village of Rickerby, Carlisle, Cumbria, he resembled a poodle and was also quite small.

The family, including dad, Adam, 37, who is the director of an insurance company, and kids Ella, 10, and Max, four, were taught how to feed Marley with a bottle.

But within two weeks of having the little lamb, Marley contracted an illness called joint-ill, a common cause of lameness in young lambs where one or more joints can be infected and swollen. He needed constant care and was so stiff it would take him 15 minutes to get up on his feet.

Due to limited mobility, Ali bought Marley his own dog bed and placed it in front of the warm Aga in the kitchen. Ali said: ‘Our dog, Jess, immediately took to her and would lie at the side of her at night. It soon became clear that Marley was picking up traits from Jess.’

The pair became best friends and would do everything together.

As the family nursed Marley back to full health she would accompany them on their dog walks up the lane and would even look forward to their trips out. Ali said: ‘I knew we needed to get Marley a sheep companion, we want him to know he’s a sheep and to be outdoors like a sheep – after all he’s not very well house-trained.


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