Lost Lambs of Cheltenham

Occasionally you see a photo posted on Facebook that makes you reach for the phone.

So what was Beth Aronson doing in the middle of the road in Melrose Park yesterday with a sheep on a leash?

"Trying to keep it from getting smoshed," she answered.

Aronson's a therapist who also owns a canine walking service called Who Loves Ya, Doggie. She's good with dogs. My son does some work for her. She has less experience with sheep.

She was riding home around dinertime yesterday, having given a yellow lab named Dylan his evening constitutional. She was still wearing her nice clothes, having seen "City of Nutterly Love" at the Philadelphia Theatre Company earlier in the day. "I thought that was going to be the weird part of the day," she said.

Not a chance. She was heading north on the speedway that is Old York Road, about to turn east on Melrose, when she saw them - one healthy-sized sheep leading two lambs.

They were moving toward her -- about 50 feet away -- right down the middle of the street. Who knew sheep were fast?

"All I’m thinking is sheep and Old York Road, probably not a good combination."

So she pulled the Camry toward them, thinking she might be able to herd them to safety.

There's a church on that corner. Aronson was able to maneuver her car so it drove the three creatures up the driveway of the church and into a fenced yard. Unbelievably easy, she sighed.

Only the gate didn't close that well. Aronson knew she had to move fast.

She raced home, grabbed a leash so she could tie the gate shut and had her husband call the minister at the church to tell him about his new flock.

Of course by the time she returned the sheep were gone .

By now a couple had joined the pursuit. The man, an attorney named George Orlowitz, says he spotted the sheep on Melrose, and for the next 45 minutes he, his wife and Aronson, pushed, dragged, sweet-talked the male toward a pen a quarter mile away on the campus of Gratz College. They figured the lambs would follow. Which they did.

Getting the sheep off the road wasn't the end of their challenge.

"They really liked eating the grass," Aronson said. "It is very hard to pull a sheep when it doesn’t want to go. Sometimes it was lying down in the protester's position. It reminded me very much of dealing with my bulldog."

So there she is - trying to push a 60-or-so-pound sheep, which she's managed to lasso with a dog leash. She's got a cell phone in one hand, frantically calling clients who happened to have herding dogs, while trying to locate the owners of a day camp whose petting zoo the sheep seemed to have escaped. All ended well. 

I'm sorry she didn't call us. We have a cowherd. Harley would have brought the mint jelly.