It’s been a few days since I’ve written and now I’m actually on another continent (!?).
Last time I wrote about Half Moon’s new games and variations thereof. He’s also had less game-like behavior with me and more game-like behavior with his sheep family.
On Tuesday (I think…), Ron moved some of the electric fencing to give the sheep almost the whole run (literally) of the meadow. While he was doing that, they were hanging out in the aptly-named catch pen. (Definitely don’t want that free-range sheep…)
I took a break during Ron’s fence-moving maneuver and went outside to visit the animals. I went over to the catch pen and expected the sheep, especially Mr. Moon, to walk away from me.
To the contrary.
Half Moon was wandering around, continuing to try every kind of grass and plant in the meadow (all tasting, no eating). I stuck my hand through the fence and he came right up to me, letting me pet his face and neck. Notably, he did this without the usual half playful, half panicked running back/forth that we had been doing the previous few days.
He kept wandering around the pen, spending a lot time near the perimeter. I kept petting and scratching, especially because he was so calm and into it. At one point he laid down at the edge of the fence and I was able to pet his whole side and back multiple times. I’d never been able to do that before.
Fast forward to the next night. Half Moon has been extra playful, silly, and frisky around dusk every night. He runs around more, “plays with” (also known as bothers) the other sheep, and does many wiggles, bounces, sproings, and side trots that are hilariously funny.
I thought Half Moon and I were going to play our evening game where he runs over, gets pets, butts, and dashes off again (repeat, repeat, repeat…). Instead, apparently after ample calm petting the day before, Half Moon decided I was definitely okay and walked calmly right up to me, I squatted down and petted him. He did some of the usual butting/petting routine, but he was acting much more like a pet-sheep.
Fast forward again to Thursday. Half Moon continued to like more calm petting. But he also took the dusk-time games to new heights. He kept running around bugging his sheep flockmates, irritating all of them except Brownie. But in the middle of acting like a royal pest, he also kept running over to me.
After all, I was playing with him! Not butting him out of the way or taking a few assertive steps towards him like Spot, Cinnamon, and Tagine who were obviously irritated by the “little brother.” As the sheep got more and more annoyed, Half Moon got more wound up with his games with me–more wiggles, more bounces, more cocking his head to one side while looking at me, more standing up on his hind legs and somehow wiggling at the same time. If I wiggled back at him, vaguely imitating what he was doing, he seemed to get even more wound up (!).
Half Moon did so much running around that he started panting, but he had such a happy look on his face.
His humans, too.