Last summer my daughter raised sheep for the first time. She had two docile lambs who came up to her, nuzzling close every time she got near them and behaved like the snowy-fleeced animals made famous in the childhood song about Mary.
This year....a completely different story. From the moment her Vo Ag teacher put them into the pen, these sheep have behaved like wild banshees in the midst of cyclonic weather. Every time someone would get near them they would run into their hut and turn their backs, thinking that if they couldn't see us, we couldn't see them. My husband would have to climb in after them and use every ounce of strength to drag their kicking, flailing bodies out so we could put on the halters. My daughter was discouraged and nervous that they would prove more than she could handle. At just over 100 pounds, she was no match for them.
But she persevered. Climbing into their pen she would sit on an upturned bucket, talking softly to them, despite the fact that they seemed to ignore her.
Then gradually, she was able to catch them on her own and they seemed to know that they needn't struggle while she adjusted their halters. She began walking them one at a time through the grassy lanes of our country roads and they would Baa pathetically as they plodded along.
Now she is able to walk them together and they obediently follow along as her soothing voice tells them all is well. Though no one else can go near them, they seem to know they are safe in her presence.
Her teacher tells her they are simply dumb animals who don't respond to kind words and a soft hand. And even though she's no expert herself - and more city than country - the proof is in the pudding; the product of her patience.