When I think about trying to remain emotionally unattached to an animal, whether a domestic foster pet, an individual in a wildlife study or a domestic farm animal, I always think about my friend Vicki and her valiant effort to remain emotionally unattached to four sheep named Eeny, Meeny, Miny and Moe.
When I was a teenager my neighbor friend Vicki decided that she would raise sheep for a county fair project. She volunteered at a local veterinarian’s office every summer, and it was her life’s dream to become a veterinarian one day. Doc Smith told her he didn’t think it was a good idea, but since she had her mind made up, to remember that whatever she did, not to name the sheep. He didn’t want her to become attached to them when it came time for the livestock sale during the county fair.
Vicki took Doc’s advice and told me that she was just going to call them Eeny, Meeny, Miny and Moe. She thought this was better than the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4, because it wasn’t a ranking per say, just a way to keep the records straight. And these certainly were not names, just a way to tell them apart. I nodded my tacit approval.