Baa-a, Baa-a, Silly Sheep!

sig-icon.jpgI’ve started a new book. 

This will be my twelfth (published) and slated for release in Spring, 2009.  Up to now, I’ve written about longhorn cattle, mustangs, a thoroughbred race horse, Gypsies, mercenaries, a female outlaw, and a nun on the run.

I’ve never written a word about sheep.

That’s what this new story will be about.  Sheep.  So I had to do some reading on the woollie creatures, and the research has been surprisingly interesting. 

For instance, did flock.jpgyou know one sheepherder can handle 3,000 sheep all by himself?   With the handy assistance of his dog of course.  Compare that to 6 or 7 mounted cowboys needed to ramrod a moving herd of 1,000 head of cattle.

I also learned sheep tend to have an assortment of, well, annoyances.  They’re unpredictable, defenseless and in need of constant tending.sheep3.jpg

Here’s a few examples:

**Sheep feed at odd hours of the night, which forces the herder to round them up again–in the middle of the night.

**Should a stray sheep find itself bogged in mud, he just stands there.  Doesn’t make a sound.  He waits patiently to be rescued–or to die.

**If a young, frisky sheep rolls playfully in the grass, he can’t get up again.  His legs are short and light, and he can’t get the momentum.  He’ll need help.

**If a ewe or wether (had to look this one up–it’s a young castrated male) wades into water, and its fleece is long, he becomes too water-logged to climb out.  Again, he’ll need help.

**Bleating sheep means life is normal.  When sheep are terrified, they make no sound at all.

**Adult sheep will stand in silence while a wolf snatches a lamb.  No attempt is made to lamb1.jpgsave the poor thing.  The lamb, I mean.

**Young ewes are often indifferent mothers.  If she fails to recognize her newborn, she’ll wander off, clueless that the baby needs milk.  Again, the sheep herder must help.

Cattlemen despised flocks of sheep on the range.  They believed, at least at first, that the woollie animals had sharp hooves that cut and trampled the grass, and that the cattle refused to graze where sheep had earlier trod because of the smell they left behind.  Many a range war was fought because of the cattlemen’s determination to dominate the range and rid themselves of the mutton-punchers.

And so my new story will go–with a hero who is a cattleman and a heroine who tends sheep with her father.  Should be a pairing rife with conflict, eh?

(Note:  Have you read Linda Broday’s “The Love Letter” in her current anthology release, GIVE ME A TEXAN?  Her heroine tends sheep, too!  A lovely little story!)

So do tell.  Have you ever had a pet who did the darnedest things?  Who didn’t have a clue about the most basic things in life?  Who was always and forever getting into trouble and needed to be rescued?

We took in a deaf Boxer a few years ago.  She was a sweet thing, but ver-ry difficult to train and discipline because she couldn’t hear us well.  Which may or may not have anything to do with her compulsion to eat rocks.  And then throw them up.  At 3:00 in the morning. 

Dang, I hated seeing those rocks on my carpet in that pile of vomit–and I have no idea why she ate them in the first place.  I never once saw her do it–but she nosed around our landscaping and swallowed them whole, without fail. 

That’s my tale–I’d love to hear yours!

Take a minute to tell us, and you’ll be in a drawing for a copy of one of the books in my backlist, your choice:  WANTED! or HER LONE PROTECTOR

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Pam has written 30 romances, most of them historical westerns, but her newest releases are contemporary sweet romances featuring the Blackstone Ranch series published by Tule Publishing. Stay up on the latest at

56 thoughts on “Baa-a, Baa-a, Silly Sheep!”

  1. Good Morning Pam

    We have a beautiful cat that we call “Pretty Girl”. She hates to have anything on her feet. She will be walking and all at once she will shake her feet off. It is so funny.

    Had a puppy once when I was a little girl it loved to eat christmas lights (bulbs and all). Don’t know why it didn’t kill it.

    Have a great day!

  2. Oh, by the way loved your info on sheep very interesting. I am starting Linda’s “Love Letter” today.

  3. Pam, Goodmorning to you first let me ask you which books have the mustangs and Gypsie in it I know it’s 2 separte books but are they still available? My goal is to get books each of you ladies have written All of you have such interesting topics of discussion I’d feel more apart of things if i had read something from each of you I’ve not been reading long enough to have everybodies that i want (seriously addicted reader). Your post on sheep…I had no idea they were so needed to look after. They are darling creaturs, a lady that lives down from us has alot of them and i like to ride by and look at them. The part about the mud almost broke my heart to picture it standing there and another animal going to attack it. I don’t want to hog up to much space right now I have to run my daughter to school and i’ll tell you about cat that got high off my plants. HOUSE PLANTS!!

  4. Sherry, we’ve never owned a cat (even before I was married) but they seem rather fussy. Sounds like yours had tender tootsies! Bet that was funny to see her.

  5. Lori, thank you for your interest in the Fillies’ books! We love readers like you! 🙂

    My Gypsy book was released by Leisure Books in 2001–LADY GYPSY. Used copies are available on Amazon. That one has always been one of my favorites; alas, the book was released during 9/11 and the distribution was terrible.

    My mustang book comes out in June–KIDNAPPED BY THE COWBOY. I just got the cover last week, and it’s up on the Founding Fillies page here in Wildflower Junction, or in the Larkspur Library. Be sure to check it out!

  6. Hi Pam:
    Our home would love to have a dog but the kids and hubby have serious allergies. When I was a kid, my sister and I smuggled a stray kitten into our basement and took care of it for several days before we realized it had eaten some of our arts and crafts supplies and vomited in the laundry.
    (My father couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from and why he was sneezing so much.) We really, really wanted to keep the kitten and I don’t remember ever crying so much as a kid when my parents took it to the Humane Society. Thanks for the post. I read Give Me a Texan and Linda’s story was great.

  7. I lived in a family that loved to bring home animals. I grew up with your normal dog and cats but also had tons of snakes, ferrets, and lizards. I have a cat right now that is so strange. She loves to run across peoples head. I have no idea way she does it. When I was little I also had this cat that would attack my eyelashes when I was sleeping, I guess she didn’t like it when they would flutter while I was dreaming. I had a friend that had this bird that loved to watch MTV and would start yelling at you and calling you dirty names if you changed the channel. I also had this Chow growing up that hated men in uniforms and when they had hats on. My parents were out one night and a cop showed up at the house and we told him that he couldn’t come in. He didn’t like that and tried to push his way into the house. As soon as the dog saw the uniform she went crazy and bit him in the crotch. We did try to warn the poor guy. Need less to say that cop left right away. Very interesting info about the sheep, I didn’t know any of that.

  8. Usually my cat wasn’t getting into trouble, but there was this one time I remember very well. My cousin had a trap that was ment for minks and he totally forgot to put it away somewhere inside the summer cottage before going back to the city. And of course my cat went into it. It was a lucky thing my great uncle walked past the summer cottage every day, because otherwise my poor cat would have starved to death in that trap. But fortunately my cat only needed to make some noise in order to get my great uncle’s attention. He carried the cat in the trap all the way home and since no one knew how to open that thing, we had to open it with tongs. The cat was scared, but otherwise fine.

  9. Awesome, thank you for letting me know. O.K. my story about my cat. We had gone on vacation and my mom and brother were coming over to check on our 2 cats and feed our 2 St. Benards and she had bought me a beautiful tropical plant and had put it on our counter in the kitchen. when we come home my cat was stagering around all red eyed and I saw shreades of leaves scaterred around and he was all confused (looked like a pot head gone bad) anyway it look him about 6 months and now he’s re- habilitated I can’t trust him around any plants anymore and i have to pick him grass every so often or he’ll scatch at the front door trying to get out to get it. I can’t let him outside anymore he’s a fry short of a happy meal and i’m afraid he’ll get hurt. He’s graduated to plastic and anything eles that’s non food item that crinkles I feel like I has a 3rd child well 4th including my husband LOL I’m gonna check out amazon and see if i can find that book thanks again for letting me know.

  10. I have a dog right now who’s too smart for his own good. One day while I was at work he managed to get an almost full jar of peanut butter off the counter and took it with him to snack on. When I came home I found the lid and lable on the living room floor with only one tooth mark in the lid. I found the jar on my bed with only peanut butter left in the bottom where his tongue couldn’t reach. How he got the lid off without mangaling the jar is beyond me.

    My mom had a calico cat that was one of the dumbest cats I’ve ever met. Ana also had a thing for plants. Mom was watching someone’s shamrock plant for them and Ana ate some it and got sick. She also ate a planter of cacti and part of an aloe vera plant, she never learned though she got sick every time.

  11. Za, I feel your disappointment in being unable to keep your kitty. I think having a pet is important to a child, not only for the love but for teaching responsibility, too. I’m sure it was so-o hard seeing that kitty go to the HS.

    Thanks for posting!

  12. Pam-just checked out your upcoming book in June “Kidnapped by a Cowboy” Wow.. what woman wouldn’t want that to happen!!(smile) I’ve already wrote that down on my list, I’m going to check on Amazon now for Lady Gypsie, Thanks again.

  13. Rebekah–wow! You had some great stories! I would totally freak out if a cat ran across my head–or attacked my eyelashes when I was sleeping. EEK! LOL.

    Hi, Minna! (wave!) Thanks for stopping by with your story!

  14. Lori–thanks for coming back to visit. I’m shocked to read it took 6 months for your cat to get better. I suspect he would surely have died if you hadn’t come home. Poor thing.

    And thanks for checking out “Kidnapped by the Cowboy.” Okay – be honest. Do you think he looks like a kidnapper? Or does he look way too polite? LOL.

  15. well, personally, I have had a varied assortment of “slow” animals! I loved them all dearly despite their short comings! LOL

    We adopted one cat from a shelter once that had been there for a very long time..he was a beautiful cat and we could not figure out why he’d been there so long…until we went to bed the 1st night he was home with us.. around midnight the cat proceeded to bark at the moon! I swear I am telling the truth..the cat barked. We kept him a few nights and after putting up with the barking cat for about 1 week, we returned him to the shelter..we could not deal with it! He kept us awake every single night that we had him!

    Then we had one cat that ate strings of different varieties and lengths and well, let me just say..that made for interesting litter box visits 😉

    We’ve had an assortment of animals over the years and now we are the proud,happy and unbothered owners of a bearded dragon (lizard)..named Rex! He is the best pet we have ever owned..very low maintenance and it doesnt matter one bit if he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed..he’s not likely to start barking or eating strings! 🙂

  16. Hey, Lynn! Too funny about the peanut butter. Ugh–what a mess. Did he have gooey peanut butter all over his whiskers? I can just see that tongue flicking all over the jar–probably kept him occupied for awhile. I’m sure he was in heaven!

  17. Hi Pam, you sure had a strange dog. 🙂 Never heard of one that ate rocks. That’s kinda weird. I don’t have a pet story to tell but I had a wonderful border collie in “The Love Letter” that you so graciously plugged. Yes, my story is about a woman shepherdess and a dyed-in-the-wool cowboy who hates sheep with a passion…or so he thought. Lots of built in conflict. You’ll do great with your new story. I can’t wait to read it.

    Sherry, I hope you enjoy “The Love Letter.” Let me know if you like it. Thanks so much for supporting all the authors on P&P!

  18. Poor Pam, you hit my strong suit. We have so many animals, pets and livestock…lots of stories.
    I won’t tell them all.

    First, on sheep, we had a neighbor who had sheep. He said they were all just looking for a reason to die. And, this was in the days trucks would come out to your house and haul away a dead animal, used for dog food, I think. They won’t do that anymore, I think because of Mad Cow disease.
    Anyway, my neighbor said his sheep died so often that the Dead Animal Truck came by his house like it was part of a mail route, and just picked up whatever was dead. My neighbor didn’t have to phone.

  19. Great blog, Pam. I could fill volumes with silly pet stories–like the chihuahua that learned to play the piano and sing (howl)on command.
    My book WYOMING WOMAN had a cattle family heroine and a sheep raising hero. But I didn’t know many of the interesting facts in your blog. Thanks for the info–and the smiles.

  20. Here’s another story.

    We had a stray cat come to our house. This was the most beautiful creature, long white fur and it had one blue eye and one brown eye. It was so, so beautiful and really eccentric in ways that are hard to explain, it just didn’t act like a normal cat, very quiet, a bit aloof, but so calm and friendly, not like a feral, stray cat. This was an animal that should have been sitting on a silk pillow with a diamond collar, it was so elegant.

    It used to climb on my vaccuum cleaner (I had a low, kind of rectangular canister vac) and curl up and sleep on it while I vaccummed. Very odd.
    Well, someone told me that when a cat was pure white, with different colored eyes, he was most likely deaf, it was some syndrome or other. So that explained a lot of his eccentricity.

    Well, I really liked this cat but I didn’t let cats inside much, we had a lot of farm cats, so despite his charm, he was relegated to the rugged outdoor life, and he was doing fine. A king among the common cats.

    So I told a lady I knew about this beautiful, eccentric tomcat I had and I wished I could give it the lovely life it deserved but I wasn’t gonna start letting it live inside. And I asked her (and others) if anyone wanted it. Anyone want a cat to coddle and baby?

    She said yes.

    She took the cat home and her daughter, probably eight, brought out the other family cat, a precious little kitten, to introduce it to the new cat.

    They set them nose to nose on the floor and my cat grabbed the kitten and sunk it’s teeth into it’s neck and shook it to death right in front of the whole family.

    Then my cat ran off.


    Hello, traumatized, hello years of counselling.

    Looking back now I see I missed my chance. I should have offered that lady another cat, she was short two!

  21. Hey Pam, We had Westies when I was growing up and our male Shilo, wouldn’t eat grapes. He would play with them and play with them, but never actually eat them or bite them. Oh and bubbles. He would chase them and bite them. It was like having a little brother sometimes…LOL He is sadly missed as well as our female Sally. What is really funny is that growing up in Nebraska, we didn’t have cow dogs, and they are usually the most popular pet?!?!?!!!

  22. We had a border collie once.
    I got it after reading James Herriot’s All Things Bright and Beautiful, because he loved border collies.
    Well, they’re supposed to be among the most intelligent of dogs but all I saw in Laddie was a frantic desire to herd sheep.
    We had no sheep.
    My husband found out very, very soon not to let him near the cows, he’d just go mad and chase and chase and chase, scattering them in all directions and he wouldn’t stop. He wouldn’t come back.
    So, he was a pet not a working dog.
    And we lived several miles from the cows so instead, he’d just chase anything that moved.
    My children…he’d herd them. Man did that hate that.
    Barn swallows. That was the weirdest. We had barn swallows make their nests under our eaves and they’d swoop in and out all day building, then bringing food to the babies.
    Laddie would chase them, a totally futile effort, trust me. He’s run toward the house, looking up, then run which ever direction the swallow went, looking up.
    That dog was obsessed.

  23. Mary, that makes me giggle!!! I have a picture in my head of a collie herding kids!! Blue heelers are good for that, too…LOL Like I said only in Nebraska!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Pam – Thanks for enlightening me on sheep. I didn’t know how dumb they are or their physical limitations. (sorry if I offended any sheep lovers) . My Skittles is my Devil Cat to most everyone. No one will take care of her when we travel because she’s vicious and very territorial to our house. She only likes a select few, but to us, she’s adorable, sweet, loving and playful.Its not hard for me to love her, she’s my mascot and companion while I write all day.

  25. Not sure Pam I think he looks a little hot to me !! about my cat he was actually sick as far as not eating or drinking alot about 2 weeks but mentally it was like 6 months he seemed like he was on a permantent high not really caring what went on around him he would get up walk around a few feet and was back to sleep again. There’s been alot of funny stories from different people one lady was talking about her can’t popping her eyes inher sleep i had one that would bite at my eyelashes.
    Linda just made a comment about her book “The Love Letter” that’s another one on my list. I saw the offerings at Amazon so I’m gonna order one of those, they don’t have any new ones though so hopefully it’s been takin care of.
    That was funny what Mary said about her Border Collie we had one of those that lived beside us and our 2 St. Benard’s of course there was a fence between our houses and lucky for that dog because he would run up and down the fence wore a deep path in the ground trying to chase my dogs that dog needed some serious medication my boy dog Otis peed on him one time threw the fence while that dog was barking at him I guess that was Otis’s way of telling him he was sick of his mess! Every time we went outside we would see him stalking us from behind the trees and then start running to the fence like he never seen us before, barking his head off, we lived there 5 years. imagine that.

  26. Elizabeth, enjoyed the image of the singing chihuahua. I can just see it! I didn’t know you’d written a sheep story, too!

    Great to hear from you, Linda and Charlene!

  27. correction Linda’s story The Love Letter is in Give Me A Texan (which is on my list) just wanted to correct myself.

  28. Some dogs are of a calm temperment, and I suppose there are individual exceptions but I think a few breeds, like border collies, are so high energy it’s just cruel to keep them in town. One long walk a day and even a back yard to run in just doesn’t begin to do it for them.

    After Laddie, we had a Australian Shepherd. Dingo. He was a really nice dog, so mild and calm. But he did jump up on people when he was young. We worked pretty hard to train him not to do that and he got better.
    It was worst for my youngest daughter, Katy, 3, we’d have the little neighbor girl to visit, also 3 and they wouldn’t go outside because Dingo would come up and lick their faces and inevitably knock them over. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body, but think of it. He was about the same height as a three year old.
    What if a dog came up to YOU and looked you straight in the eye. Scary.
    So, I taught Katy to take a stick with her when she played. All she had to do was swing it at him and he’d just stay back. She never hit him.

    Except, the first time I showed her, instead of swinging the stick at Dingo, she THREW it.

    BOOM, she’s unarmed.

    Then Dingo started licking her face again.

    So finally she figured out to hold on to the stick and I gave the neighbor girl her own little stick and thought, now they can play outside.

    Except, instead of holding the sticks for self defense, it became a game to CHASE Dingo with the sticks.

    Poor dog. They never laid a stick on him, and he seemed to enjoy it. Rather than just run off, he’d run a bit and stop and wait until they caught up, then run a bit again.

    I remember him looking over his shoulder, so patient, waiting for their little toddler legs to take all those steps to ‘get him’.

    They passed a lot of time doing that.

  29. Great post and as usual, full of good info. I learn a ton hanging out with you fillies! The detail that sheep don’t make a sound when terrified reminded me with a shiver of that awful movie, Silence of the Lambs…

    Well, our black Lab Marley is our special-needs dog. She has the personality to have been a great search dog (kinda clueless, unafraid of doing something dangerous or stupid) but instead, she’s a housepup. Her first Christmas, she chewed up one red glass ornament a day. I guess she thought they were balls. Aaaargh.

    Oh well, gotta love her.

  30. Hi, Tanya! Glad you’re enjoying our blogs and learning more about the west, among other goodies. Thanks for telling us about Marley–yikes! Hope she didn’t cut her mouth eating those glass ornaments!

    No worries, Lori. We knew exactly what you meant about Linda’s novella!

  31. Sheep are so dumb. Years ago I helped my future husband and fil rescue sheep from a flood. We would pull the wet, smelly things into the boat and take them to dry land. They would run right back into the water. A lot of them drowned before we could get to them again.

    I had a cat that wouldn’t walk on carpet. She made her way thru the room by walking on furniture.

  32. Great topic – my grandfather was a sheephearder in Sicily ’til he moved to America and then farmed. I wonder if the sheep don’t make noise because that would leave them vulnerable to predators?

    I’ve had 2 dogs and at the moment 6 cats – I could go on all day with stories so here is just a few things about our first dog, a beagle, who got into so much trouble because we both worked – she hid an entire package of sticky buns all over my apt. – I found one hidden in my couch weeks later (her poor nose lost all it’s hair from her trying to bury them), she ate one of my contacts, birth control pills, a cassette tape (that was really fun coming out). Once when our uncle babysat her he came home to pantyhose all over the apt – he thought they were new but I was saving them to stuff pillows and then she ate his pizza when he left the room.

  33. Loved your post. The only thing I can think of is we had dog when I was growing up that hated motorcycles. He would chase them down and bite the tires if he could catch it or if it was setting still he would bite the tires on it. He just hated motorcycles.

  34. Our late cat, when he was days old, tried to nurse
    on his mother’s paw while his littermates nursed
    at the appropriate site. My daughter’s Great Dane
    eats the decorative lava rocks from her fireplace,
    has chewed up a sofa, and destroys the bedding in
    her dog house. That’s all I can recall right now!

    Pat Cochran

  35. Hi, Pam! I had no idea about sheep! Those are pretty fascinating facts! We never had any pets growing up (except a few unfortunate fish and a frog) so I have no endearing (or pathetic) stories 🙁

  36. Jeanne, my grandfather was from Sicily, too! Carlentini. But he was a shoemaker, not a sheepman.

    I suspect the sheep don’t make a noise is because they just don’t know what to do. Not sure they’re smart enough to think ‘if I keep quiet, the bad wolf will leave me alone.’

    Thanks for sharing your stories!

  37. Pat, sweet story about your kitty trying to nurse on his mama’s paw. I imagine he got a little frustrated when nothing came out, eh?

    My sympathies to your daughter on the Great Dane chew-ups. A big dog like that can do a ton of damage in a home! Yikes!

  38. I was hoping the sheep weren’t as stupid as they sounded lol. The town was Chifalo (not positive of the spelling) but right outside of Palermo – of course it wasn’t a fancy resort back then.

    I also wanted to comment about the white cat. I’v read that it’s when they have blue eyes that they are deaf. A cat with one brown and one blue will be deaf in one ear. One of my cats is white but two brown eyes.

  39. I had a hamster as a kid named Frisky. She used to love to snuggle up to my stuffed animals and fall asleep among them! Also I had a bird named Oscar who turned out to be female…but I did not find that out until I had her for 10 years and she laid an egg!!! 🙂

  40. Loved your story and reading what other bloggers had to say!

    I don’t have any story… mainly because I have not pet and live in the metropole!

  41. Jeannie That’s not necessarily true, I’ve owned 2 solid white cats with the blueiest eyes you’ve ever seen 1 of them i still have and they both heard extremely well but however when people have seen my cats they always ask that same question are they deaf?

  42. I don’t have any crazy pet stories…but I still wanted to say Hi! Thanks for sharing your stories everyone!

  43. im late but i have to say i do like sheep.
    Ok I like eating lamb! there i said it ime the girl who had a pet lamb for a while (billy) no idea why but when Billy grew up he was sent to the saleyards and sold to the butcher but i got around $20 for him (i was 11 at the time) His mother must have been a young ewe cos he was abandoned.
    But I live in sheep country we do have cattle around but alot is sheep.
    my pets didn’t do crazy things but the other day i was looking outside at a disturbance

    there is our neighbours fox terrier(i think) anyway little dog, old and greying chasing a big Rhodiesian Ridgeback type dog down the road.
    it was so funny the ridgeback was running for its life and you could tell it was scared and here is Deano chasing it. Now i forgot to say deano is slightly overweight and oviously a slow mover. The ridgeback could have had him for dinner but no it was like he was being chased by a bear.

  44. In the mid to late 60’s our family had a black and gray colored cat. If my mother would get a package of hamburger from the freezer and place it on the countertop, and then she would go to another room to do something, and if nobody else in the family was nearby, the cat would jump onto the countertop and start eating the meat. My mother then would have to find something else to prepare for our evening meal.

  45. Im going to try to put this nicely,I had a little dog who lets say,loved to make “love”to things that werent alive!He first did his Teddy Bear he got for Christmas in the front yard in front of all the neighbors!of course the kids thought that was soooooo funny,NOT!Then when he wouldnt stop I took his bear away,so he would “love”bags of garbage,can you imagine?Gross,anyway,he became the neighborhood sideshow,he would anything outside or inside he could arrange to meet his wants an needs,an being neutered didnt stop his activity,he still tried,soooooo,I think this would be considered a bit weird in the animal world or any world,lol,thanks VIckie

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