Senior Constable Natalie Booth was doing her regular walk around Binalong when she spotted a newborn lamb on the side of the road.
Not too unusual when you consider she lives and works in prime sheep country in the NSW Southern Tablelands, but what was strange was that there was no mother about.
The policewoman, who came to the tiny rural hamlet from Sydney four years ago, wasn’t quite sure what to do so she continued her walk, hoping the lamb would be back in the adjacent paddock with its mother by the time she returned, around 45 minutes later. It wasn’t.
“It looked pretty bad,” she said. “I don’t think it could have been more than 12 hours old. I didn’t know much about sheep and lambs but I knew if it didn’t have a mum, it would need colostrum every few hours to survive.”
So she picked it up and carried it home – to the police station.
She then went into town to talk to some of the “boys”, local farmers, for their advice on what to do.
“They did say to me, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’, meaning that did I know it would have to be fed every couple of hours … I did. So I went to the rural supplies place to get it some food.
“I thought to myself, I’ll give it a go. If she survives, she’ll survive.”
The first week or so wasn’t easy, with Senior Constable Booth not getting a lot of sleep. But she didn’t mind, she knew the animal would have died had she not rescued it.
“I understand that many farmers these days don’t have time to feed poddies, that’s why I wanted to give it a go,” she said.
Daisy, as she has become known, not only survived, she thrived – and continues to do so.
From day one, she became best mates with Senior Constable Booth’s other family member, Zara, the Koolie/kelpie cross, and, after weeks of hand-feeding, Daisy is now as big as the dog.
“They’re such good mates now,” she said. “It’s great to see.”
Originally from the city, Constable Booth said she couldn’t imagine herself – or her now-extended family – returning to Sydney any time soon.
“I love it here,” she said of Binalong and the Yass Valley towns where she also works.
Her district spreads from Jugiong to Goulburn, and she’s more than happy to keep within that vicinity.
“I freak out when I get near the M7,” she joked.
Constable Booth has become so settled that, along with another officer, a member of the highway patrol, the two have set up a cafe in Binalong, naming it the Two Little Pigs.
“You can’t take yourself too seriously out here,” she laughed.
Meanwhile, she has an excellent new colleague at the police station, one who can’t ever be accused of talking too much – maybe just a little bleating – but also means she no longer has to cut the station grass.
“We’ve built a good life here,” she said.
Part of the Hume Police District, it’s not the first time the region’s officers have been praised for caring for local wildlife. A couple of weeks ago, it was an owl with an injured wing that officers cared for until WIRES arrived, and just before that, officers from Moss Vale went down a drain to save a family of ducks.