Slate Reveals: The Love That Dare Not Bark Its Name

Two weeks ago this reporter delved into the shadowy world of adorable animals and the people who love snorgling them.

Two weeks ago this reporter delved into the shadowy world of adorable animals and the people who love snorgling them. If you’ll allow me to break from journalistic objectivity (while simultaneously breaking into first-person), it was a hairy assignment, full of wet noses and wagging tails. It was also one that changed me forever. I don’t think I’ll look at kittens being adopted by rabbits in quite the same way again.

With that in mind, I read with great interest as Slate ran a moving and funny story yesterday by writer and gentleman farmer Jon Katz about his dog Lenore and her intense relationship with one of his rams, Brutus.

If you’re looking for a salacious tale of barnyard trysts, look elsewhere. But if you want to have your heart warmed by a Romeo and Juliet-like interspecies love between a dog and a sheep, you really can’t do much better than "My Dog Has a Crush on My Ram: A love story."

Here’s how Mr. Katz describes it:

I’d never seen anything resembling this relationship between a joyous, loving dog and a steady but undemonstrative ram. I couldn’t fathom Lenore’s attraction: She’d been spayed a few months earlier. And Brutus’ behavior was even more incomprehensible. Sheep are flocking animals, which is why dogs can move them in and out of a pasture or a pen. They don’t go off on their own and form relationships with other species; they barely seem to differentiate among their fellow sheep. (Although now that I think about it, Brutus was close to his mother.) It is downright unsheeplike to leave the flock and stand nose-to-nose with a dog for long periods. In fact, sheep are so incurious that you hardly ever see them do much but sleep and eat.
[…]
The two of them are always together. She cleans his ear, he noses her or butts her gently. It’s something to see.

And see it you must. Mr. Katz’s A Dog Year was optioned in for an HBO movie in 2004. Perhaps When Brutus Met Lenore…. will find its way to Hollywood as well. Call it the ultimate Meet Cute.

Slate Reveals: The Love That Dare Not Bark Its Name