Late last year we responded to a request for assistance from Parks Victoria in regard to the rescue of two abandoned sheep who had taken up refuge in parkland just north of Melbourne. Befriending the local kangaroos and grazing vast fields, the duo could have continued happily ever after except for their ever-growing fleece and hard hooves potentially causing damage to fragile soils. Both factors show the unsuitability of these introduced animals to our shores. Proving too the smarts of sheep, reigning them in was to be quite a challenge. Whilst our makeshift corral brought a halt to the roaming of the sheep we named Charade, her feisty counterpart proved far more elusive, spiriting off into the several hundred acres of vastness, trees and hills. Reluctantly we headed home, with one ear and eye constantly peeled to the phone awaiting a call to confirm a sighting of the sheep. Alas, that call was not to come for several long months. However, this time armed with a far better understanding of the logistics of the park we were confident that the words of the park ranger, “You’ve come to get the sheep? Well good luck on that one,” were to be but an ingredient of his humble pie.
You may have heard the quote, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Sadly, this was to prove the case as our meticulously thought out plan proved no challenge for the wirily sheep. She indeed found the one teeny weeny oversight in our cleverly (although in hindsight that is probably not the best word) crafted plan. Searching high and low, we scoured every inch of the cornered off area, yet with each footfall the reality of our defeat sunk in. It seemed it would be us who would each be tucking into a slice of that aforementioned pie. Vowing that our next attempt would be a success, we notified the ranger of our failing as we packed up, ready to commence the long and sheepless trek home. Making our way carefully back toward the park’s entrance, we figured one last look would not take too much out of our day, given we had already put in such an investment of time. With the fitter members of our team sprinting up the hill and casting a wide gaze over the massive range of the park, we could not believe our ears with the words that came next, “I heard a baa, did you?” To which the other team member responded with a resounding, “Yes.” Sprinting up the hill faster than the remaining team members could have ever thought possible they were greeted by the sight of Kyle, lying atop of the mammoth of a sheep as the words of Pearl S Buck came to mind, “All things are possible until they are proved impossible – and even the impossible may only be so, as of now.”
With the hastily named Julie Andrews safely tucked away in the horse float, you could not have wiped the smiles from our faces with a thousand cleaning cloths if you had tried. But if you thought that moment brought joy to our hearts, it was nothing compared to what followed after, when Julie met up with her long-lost friend Charade and it was our hearts that came alive with the sound of their baas.