It was about 3am, and I was still awake due to my propensity to be a nightowl.
I should roll back a moment and explain: We briefly experimented with an arrangement allowing a local farmer to graze his sheep and goats on the property. Critters eat, we don't have to mow the lawn, everyone wins. In practice, we did not win. The sheep, other than ostracizing their shorn friends at shearing time, were pretty well behaved. The goats on the other hand broke out of their pens every day, climbed on everything, and left droppings on everything they climbed, and everything they did not climb. Goats are celebrated poopers.
Back to the story. Hearing random bleating was not abnormal; in fact, watching the bittygoats frolic around and bleat was pretty cute, it's one of the things I miss about not having the critters around. This particular night, there was a lot of bleat. After about ten straight minutes of hearing one animal, I put on my outdoor duds and headlamp and went outside.
If you've never looked out into a field of herd animals in country dark and quiet, it's quite a sight to see a couple dozen sets of shining eyes looking back at you. As I approached, most bolted, but one set stayed fixed on me. Figuring this might be the culprit, I made my way through the tall grass over to the spot.
Turns out one of the bittysheeps had gotten his little head caught in an old bit of plastic fencing. Moving ever forward, he couldn't fit the rest of himself through the square, and was stuck, though fortunately wasn't having any breathing issue, and didn't cut or otherwise hurt himself.
So I get over there, and think, "The hell am I going to do about this?" I spent about fifteen seconds utterly flummoxed, looking for various tools I could use, or trying to think of crazy ways to get the sheep unstuck, and then it occurred to me: This is a sheep.
I spend time working with tigers. If you put an appendage in unprotected proximity to them, there is a chance that they will take that as an offering and relieve you of it. It isn't necessarily a huge chance, but it's far enough from zero that I don't go sticking my fingers or arms into tiger enclosures as a general rule. I had developed inertia from working with the tigers to the point that it actually took time before I realized that this was a sheep. It was a warm lurching ham wrapped in a fluffy sweater. Once I sorted that out, I simply took hold of the little guy, pulled the fence back over his head, and let him bound his way back to mama.
Tigers change you, man.