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A family adopted an orphaned lamb that was dumped on their doorstep by a stranger with a note in a cardboard box.

Roxanne Owings and her mum Ann say three months old Hope thinks she’s a dog and loves playing with children in a nearby park where she is walked twice a day on a lead.

They first took Hope to a rescue sanctuary but when the final paperwork was completed, the lamb cried and stubbornly refused to leave.

The family believe she has separation anxiety as the note attached to her read she was discovered drinking beside her dead mother in a field when just a few weeks old.

Roxanne, 29, of Halewood, Merseyside, said: “We took her to the sanctuary but it was heartbreaking for us all. We tried to leave her but she refused.

“As we were walking away, she was crying and crying. Then my mum ended up crying.

“Hope was crying really loudly, as if she was crying for my mum like she was her mum.

“My mum eventually said ‘let’s have her, we will have her forever.’ She didn’t stay in the sanctuary at all but we were shown where she’d stay and we filled out the forms.

“It was reassuring that the staff at the centre said she was doing well and she was fine.”

In the three weeks since, Roxanne and Ann have bottle fed Hope milk, walked her on leads in parks and in the grounds of National Trust properties having been granted permission and let her play with Roxanne’s two young children.

Roxanne, who is a self-employed children’s face painter, said: “We’ve been to Speke Hall a lot as it is our most local, having had permission from it, and Tatton Park.

“Nobody has batted an eyelid. People have just accepted her everywhere she goes. We’ve actually had a lot of people stop and Hope gives them a lot of attention.

“Some people have actually seen her and paid her attention, and then said that they are actually going to become vegetarians after meeting her.

“Some people think she’s a dog. They’ve said ‘Oh I thought my eyes were deceiving me, I thought that was a dog’ when they’ve realised she’s actually a lamb.

“It’s certainly not a normal thing to see in your park. People are really happy to see her, especially the kids. She actually likes to play with the kids.

“She goes off the lead and bounces around with them because she is quite friendly. She’s like a dog, and I think she thinks she’s a dog to be honest. She’s lovely like that.”

Mum-of-two Roxanne was devastated to find a tearful Hope on her doorstep in June with a note that read: “‘Left suckling from dead mother, sibling dead next to them, thanks for everything you do x”

Ann and her daughter already volunteer a significant amount of her time by rescuing and homing ducks and other birds and believe the mystery stranger must have known this.

They were yet, however, to home any other types of animals until they encountered Hope.

The mum and daughter are now determined to give Hope the best life possible – in Ann’s garden in Halewood.

But they must raise £1,000 to be able to care for the bottle fed lamb.

The money will go towards vet fees, a paddock in the garden, food and other equipment that’ll give Hope the best protection.

To raise the funds they created a Go Fund Me page, which has already raised more than £200.

Roxanne said: “Hope has now been raised entirely around humans. She’s been very distressed after her trauma.

“We want her to stay now and would like to build a stable, and create her own little sanctuary with us and be able to pay her vaccines and other associated costs.

“She’s going to need things at each stage of her life, just like any human or animal does. These things aren’t cheap.

“The majority of the money will be to build the stable for the winter, which will ensure she is comfortable and warm. We’ve put in a lot of money ourselves but the donations will help a lot. We understand times are hard and the cost of living is rising but donations will be hugely appreciated.”