Brigitte Cornand, longtime deputy director of West Tisbury’s Dumptique, called recently from France, where she now lives, with New Year’s greetings for all her Vineyard friends.

Animal and bird lover that she is, she wanted all to know that she is not bereft of animal and bird life in her new homes. In Paris, she lives in an apartment overlooking the Canal St. Martin. There, she and her cat, Andre, look out the window in late afternoon at a blue heron fishing below.

Then in her “country” backyard in Castres, in the province of Languedoc in the south of France, she has a donkey and sometimes two sheep. The sheep have recently provided especially busy times for her.

As she described it, all was well at first with Anita, the donkey she had befriended. But before long, Anita became lonely in the backyard. So Brigitte acquired two sheep to keep her donkey company. She named one B, the other C, after her two initials.

B and C were content with the hay and organic nutrients she fed them for breakfast and dinner and with chewing the backyard grass in what, long ago, had been Brigitte’s grandparents’ home. But soon the sheep saw that the grass was greener outside the Cornand fence. They went outside, nibbled away and then disappeared.

Eventually, they were found not far away on a large local farm. But getting them back was no small task. Whenever anyone approached them, they ran away. They remained out there on the neighboring farm for a month, enjoying the grass and running from the farmer.

The federal police were called in.

“I wondered what I had done wrong when the police came to my door,” Brigitte said to me over the phone. “Then they told me they had been sent to get my sheep. And when they found them, they shot them!”

She then clarified that the police had not shot the sheep dead.

“Just shot them with arrows with some sleeping drug in them so they could be carried back here by truck,” she said. “It’s something they use in zoos for unruly wild animals. It’s very safe.”

B and C were returned to Brigitte’s backyard but it wasn’t long before they fled again when the Cornand gate was left open. But this time, on a rainy day, they returned to the abandoned gardener’s house Brigitte had fixed up for them. Now she makes sure that there is always enough hay and sheep treats, and that the fence gate is tightly closed.

“Of course, Anita gets carrots and apples for breakfast and dinner, too, to make sure she stays happy,” Brigitte added with regards to the donkey.

Bridgette admits that it was considerably easier feeding the raccoons, skunks, rabbits and guinea hens outside her cottage at Arnie Fischer’s Flat Point Farm. And the mallard ducks and ducklings and the otters at Pear Tree Cove were always grateful when she came with food for them. If only she could please her French sheep!