Freeing a Sheep

One afternoon, some strangers pulled in the driveway and a young woman knocked at the door. “There’s a sheep that is stuck in the fence,” she said, distressed. I summoned Erika and we walked out into the pasture.

Way up by the road, sure enough, a sheep stood with her head caught in the crosswires of the fence. With all the new grass to graze on, this sheep thought the grass looked better on the other side, on the neighbor’s land, and she had wiggled her fat head through those wires, which are only about four inches apart. Her position looked impossible, not to mention untenable. She was panicky. BAAAAAA!! BAAAAAA!!

Erika, who is rarely annoyed, seemed irritated at this interruption of her gardening. “Oh, it’s a teenager,” she said when we got closer, with the exact tone of exasperation that any mother uses to talk about her adolescent child.

“You think you’re still a lamb, don’t you? You think you can squeeze through there?” she said to the sheep. BAAAA!!

We tugged at the sheep’s head, tried to straighten it out, talking soothingly to her. The sheep calmed down a little, stopped bleating and didn’t fight us as we pulled on her head and body, but we didn’t seem to budge her. Erika gave up and said, “I’m going to get the wire cutters,” but I was stubborn.

“You got your head through there, we can get it back out,” I told the sheep as Erika walked away. “C’mon baby, help me out here.”

I grabbed her double-thick wool on her side and her head, dug in my heels, and pulled hard. Her head began to ease back through. I pulled harder, and she slipped out, free, as I caught my balance. She left behind a square of wool-adorned fence as she bounded and skipped away, bleating joyously. Baaaaa, baaaa! Free at last!

I went back to the office, opened up my Outlook calendar for the day, and added to the afternoon time slot, “Got sheep’s head unstuck from fence.”