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Rathdrum Sheep Adopt Stray Cat

Friends and family noticed it first, during a party at the Rathdrum home of Colleen and Jerry Flowers. While watching the couple's herd of sheep glide back and forth inside a spacious pen on the Flowers' 5-acre property, some of the party guests saw something strange. Among the sheep's legs and hoofs, there were four much smaller, daintier legs moving about the pen. “There's a cat herding those sheep,” said a surprised Darci Austin, one of the partygoers. For hours, the tiny cat ran around the pen with the larger animals, a dozen Barbados sheep that look like goats because they've shed their hair. When the herd stopped moving, the cat would continue winding its way around the sea of spindly sheep legs, often rubbing up against them/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Have you had examples in your family of mixed animals adopting one another?

Basque Country (Idaho)

Sheep, you may be surprised to learn, are not as dumb as they look. Some people might even describe them as shrewdly calculating, remarkably crafty animals with fierce independent streaks. Given the slightest opening, for example, they will quit a herd, striking out in small, enterprising bands for the high-desert plains — ungulate fugitives in a promised land of sagebrush and cactus — sometimes never to be seen again.

They’re good animals if you take care of them,” said Henry Etcheverry, as we bounced along a dusty two-track in the Minidoka desert near Rupert, Idaho, 160 miles southeast of Boise, tracking an errant herd. “But take my word for it: they’ll clean your clock if you don’t.”

Mr. Etcheverry is one of the last Basque sheepmen left in the American West, where there were once hundreds, if not thousands, like him. He learned the business from his father, Jean Pierre Etcheverry, who emigrated from the Basque Country, a region in the Pyrenees Mountains comprising parts of southern France and northern Spain, in 1929. Back then sheep outnumbered Idahoans seven to one, a peak that coincided with the tail end of Basque immigration to the western United States. NY Times, Full story.

H/T Christa Hazel

This is a great read. Anyone care to share their sheep experiences?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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