According to the dictionary, to be sheepish is to be meek or timid. Whoever wrote that didn’t know Shaun.
Shaun is a very large, very friendly Suffolk sheep. He and his girls (Sonia and Butters) were rescued by Salt Lake City animal control in the summer of 2015. Luckily, Horse Haven was able to make room for them at the Sanctuary, where they could recover and find a home of their own.
Shaun is all the things that standard textbooks tell us sheep are not. Mostly those textbooks say that sheep aren't very bright and scare easily. This fast startle is handy out on a mountaintop where predators can strike. But behind sturdy fences more often than not, a stampede of wooly bodies fleeing from a strange object (like a stray plastic shopping bag) is seen as silly instead of understanding the deep-rooted survival instinct it serves.
Shaun really isn’t scared of much, however. This large sheep behaves more like a beloved huge dog. He seeks out affection and will hang out with humans like he is part of the conversation, and usually, he is. He becomes the center of any activity in his pasture at Horse Haven.
His two herd mates, Butters and Sonia, are much shyer. Watching from a distance, they are learning from Shaun. When they get curious enough, they will cautiously approach whatever or whomever Shaun is engaged with.
Recently all three sheep have begun clicker training. This activity is an enrichment for the sheep and a wonderful opportunity for our behavior consultants and caregivers to myth-bust. Shaun, Butters and Sonia have picked up the targeting portion of clicker training faster than anyone (except maybe Shaun) thought they would. Now it’s become a game to see what else these friends can learn, and who can learn it first.
We are so glad that Shaun, Butters and Sonia were rescued by Salt Lake City animal control and that they ended up here at Horse Haven. They enrich our lives with their gentle companionship, and they make us smile every single day.
Click the first image in the Image Gallery to begin the slideshow.