FARMINGTON, Ill. ( — A one-month-old lamb is learning to walk after a Metro East animal rescue stepped in to help.

The lamb was born to a farmer along with 100 other lambs, but a deformity in its front legs made it difficult for the baby to stand, let alone walk.

“The farmer’s wife took pity on him and went through hell and high water to find me,” said Randy Grim, the founder of Randy’s Rescue Ranch in O’Fallon, Illinois. “I saw pictures and he looked like a pretzel.”

Grim traveled down to Farmington to meet the couple and said he instantly began bottle feeding the lamb he later named Leo.

“He’s like my child,” Grim said. “I got virtually no sleep for 25 days bottle feeding him around the clock. Moms should get an award. It’s incredible to be able to function on no sleep.”

Grim brought on Dr. Lee Schaufler, a farm veterinarian, to give Leo an initial exam in order to diagnose his deformity.

“His prognosis was very grave,” Dr. Schaufler said. “Leo has what’s called contracted tendons and typically, a production animal like he is wouldn’t get thousands of dollars dedicated to his care. So this has been a really unique experience to get to see.”

Several days a week, Leo goes to Four Paws Animal Hospital, where he takes part in physical therapy. In a matter of weeks, Grim said Leo has gone from being unable to stand, to run around in the grass.

“I didn’t know if he’d ever walk or stand up,” said Grim. “I remember getting so excited watching him stand for the first time. It’s been an amazing journey and bonding experience that I didn’t think was possible. I love this guy so much and he’s come such a long way.”

Leo still has work to do and Dr. Schaufler is planning on making him an additional leg brace to help with some weakness in Leo’s lower leg. Still, he’s amazed at his progress.

“Astonished,” he said. “I’m really astonished with it.”

Both men credit Four Paws Animal Hospital and its physical therapy for the quick progress Leo has seen. Once he’s fully healed, Grim said he’ll live out his life at the ranch along with other animals on his “island of misfits.”

Randy’s Rescue Ranch is a non-profit organization that provides a home for animals to heal and live out their lives. Click here if you’d like to donate.

To keep up with Leo’s progress and all of the other animals at the ranch, follow Randy Grim on TickTok. 

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