SHARON — Before heading off to the courthouse, the checklist to pack for most lawyers includes a briefcase, legal pads, case folders and a smart phone.
For the lawyer named Paul G. Madison, however, the travel portfolio grew by two items this week: a baby bottle and a newborn lamb for whom the lawyer is acting as surrogate mother.
Ewe calf to be kidding?
Not at all.
Born last Sunday, the lamb was rejected by the mother sheep, meaning there was no place for the newborn to suckle.
Enter Madison, 54, who has a hobby farm about a mile south of the village of Sharon Springs, with pigs, chickens and, counting the new addition, 10 sheep.
The lawyer, a native of Long Island, has dubbed the new lamb Irish Dicky, after retired boxer Dicky Eklund. He was portrayed with an Academy Award-winning performance by actor Christian Bale in “The Fighter,” the film starring Mark Wahlberg as New England boxer Micky Ward, the brother of Eklund, who was also a skilled pugilist.
The name Irish Dicky, Madison said, seemed to fit the lamb’s pugnacious spirit and ability to persevere against tall odds after being forsaken by his own mother.
“Typically the mother will clean the baby up by licking the baby, and then start nursing the baby,” said Madison. “But this mother didn’t want anything to do with Dicky.”
He added: “It was kind of sad, considering it was Mother’s Day.”
And so like the parents of a newborn child, Madison said he has been waking up in the middle of the night to feed the cuddly lamb, who on Friday appeared to be relaxed and content while nestled in the lawyer’s lap.
While his fellow bleaters stayed at the farm this week, Dicky got to ride twice in Madison’s truck as the lawyer headed off to court hearings in Cooperstown and Cobleskill.