I lost my first sheep to coyotes last fall. I've had sheep for 20 years and have lived blissfully predator-free until now. My neighbor logged extensively last summer and coyotes love open territory. This is my best guess for this recent, unwelcome intrusion. I just lost another three weeks ago while away on vacation. And even worse, I have a lamb that is badly injured. Fortunately, he is improving, and also fortunately I have a non-squeamish niece living next door with North Dakota farm roots who has helped tend the wounds, but I am no longer resting easy.
Friday night I woke up – a coyote was barking RIGHT outside my window. Awake instantly, I bumbled downstairs, turned on all the outside lights, grabbed my flashlight and ran out. The barking had receded only to my nearby garage. I followed the sound down an old road, hearing real or imaginary growling. Eventually my courage failed me and I returned to see how the sheep were doing.
They were flocked together and stone silent. I had always thought I would be alerted to trouble by a sheepy uproar, but unfortunately, I have now learned their instinct is to be quiet. I was only lucky this time that the "criminal" wanted to brag beforehand. As I stood under the stars wondering what to do next, it occurred to me how businesses in trouble behave similarly.
We are told that everyone flocks to a winner and we struggle against all odds at times to appear to be that winner. It is also a blow to the pride sometimes to admit we are in trouble and need help. It is easy in those circumstances to face our danger silently, stepping forward for help too late or not at all.
It is a real mixed bag out there for small businesses. If your business or someone you know is one of those struggling, I encourage you to reach out sooner — rather than later. There are things that you can do that can keep your business safe during these difficult times.
What to do next with the sheep? They and their coyote friends are now enjoying 92.5 FM The River all night long – I'm hoping the sheep are rocking out under the stars and the coyotes hate indie music. I've also installed a solar motion detector light and I sleep fitfully. So you see, there are things you can do in the face of trouble, some of them fun and some not so fun — and then you just hope for the best.
Keep up the good work,