Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How to Stop a Flock

With rain in the forecast, I did what I'd done dozens of times.

I sent Raven, the Border collie, out into the pasture to round up the small flock of dry ewes (those without lambs at their side) and bring them through a six-foot gate, through the yard and into the paddock with an overhang.

As I opened the gate, the calico barn cat rubbed against my legs and rolled in front of the gate.

I snatched her up and put her on my shoulder where I could pet her and keep her safe from the sheep who were trotting toward the gate.

That cat brought the flock to a stop. The lead ewe eyed the cat that spent its days rubbing against the sheep and llama in the barnyard.

What was it doing on my shoulder? Was this some kind of trick? Would that cat attack the flock?

The lead ewe would happily walk by me; she would walk by the cat; but she would not walk by me with a cat on my shoulder. And, until the lead ewe walked forward, none of the other ewes would either.

Cat on shoulder, I took a few steps away from the sheep and flanked the dog back and forth, until finally the ewe was convinced it was safe to move forward.

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