There are many nice things about sheep (at least our sheep), but one of the things that Ron and I like best is that they foster calm.
Sheep are prey animals and they are flock animals, and they behave as such. They are wary and flighty. If something startles them, off they go. And it doesn’t take much to make them startle. Some of the time it’s legit–a dog coming down our driveway (BOO!), a car back firing. But some of the time it’s just plain silly. A reach and pet one day will inspire sheep snuggles. Another day it will make all of them run off.
In order to reduce the likelihood of flight, we (humans) need to move slowly and smoothly. No need to go in slow mo, but they don’t like sudden movement. And they prefer cautious movements, like squatting down six feet away and stretching out a hand. That usually works better than coming over and patting them on the head.
Although sometimes that works, too.
Given modern life in contemporary America, most of us spend way too much time rushing around, adrenalin pumping, in a big hurry for just about everything. (Yes, I’m talking about myself here.) The sheep help cultivate calm. Granted, they dash off when startled, but they startle a lot less if the humans are quiet, slow, and calm.
Not a bad lesson well beyond sheep management.