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COLUMN: The great sheep massacre of 2023, a tale of fluff

Friendly Lab invited buddy over for playdate, playdate rummages through toybox before settling on favourite stuffed animal. 'The outcome’s inevitable. In seconds, the poor thing’s decapitated'
From bottom left, Ramsey, Arthur, Hunter and Jasper each try their best to get this prime stick.

There’s a dead sheep in my living room.

The poor thing has been completely eviscerated, its guts spreading the length of the room from the fireplace to the front door.

It’s a stuffie bloodbath! 

Hunter, my chocolate Lab, just had a friend over for a doggy play-date.

Ramsey is a black Lab mix and the two dogs have been friends for three years, meeting a few times a week at the dog park. Similar in size, they’re very different in personality, but they can’t wait to get together and wrestle, or play tug-of-war and keep-away.

Hunter has his own toybox, with an extensive selection of bones, balls, stuffies and Kongs. His doggy friends find this toybox utterly fascinating.

Generally speaking, Hunter’s careful with his toys. He doesn’t rip them apart to tear out the squeakers, but his friends are somewhat less inhibited.

Hunter has (or had) a large stuffed sheep, with squeakers in its head and all four feet. He loves this toy. It’s one of his favourites, and he likes to carry it around, proudly presenting it to any human visitors who may happen to chance by.

Instead of jumping up on people, he’s been taught to “Get your toy”. At well over 80 pounds, his unbridled enthusiasm can be a touch dangerous.

When he comes to visit, Ramsey loves to explore Hunter’s toybox, so I have to make sure the special ones are hidden away — high up on the fridge or in a cupboard, but on this particular occasion I’d forgotten, and Rams got a little carried away.

To any dog, another dog’s toybox must seem something like a pirate’s treasure chest. All kinds of bones, ropes and stuffies, all covered with the smell of the dog to whom they belong. It’s that smell that tells him it’s okay to play with them.

Well, Ramsey discovered Hunter’s precious stuffed sheep. Thrilled, he grabbed it, taunting Hunter to come and get it.

One can only imagine the conversation…

 “Okay, sucker! I got your sheep now. You wanna piece of this?”

“My Sheepie! Give him back, you stuffie-murderer. Gimme back my Sheepie!”

“Hah! Come and get ‘im if you dare!”

“Oh, I dare, all right. Just watch me!”

And Hunter darts in and grabs any stuffie-part he can get his teeth into.

With the sheep’s head firmly clenched in his jaws, Rams pulls away, and an explosive tug-of-war begins.

The tearing sound of fabric stretched beyond its limit can be heard above the grunting and huffing of the dogs — the doomed sheepie screaming in its death agonies.

The outcome’s inevitable. In seconds, the poor thing’s decapitated. Then Ramsey industriously begins searching for the squeaker in the head. When Hunter sees what Rams is up to, he joyously joins in the massacre, meticulously disembowelling the remains of the poor sheep’s tattered body in a desperate search for the elusive source of that high-pitched squeal as he chews on the sodden remnants.

The entire slaughter takes maybe five minutes.

The killing-floor’s covered from one end to the other, and the murdered stuffie is now no more than a vast abattoir of stuffie-guts. Both dogs have squeakers that they’re doing their best to silence.

After a good deal of canine disagreement, I manage to extract the mangled squeakers from two sets of very large, very sharp, white teeth and I leave the room to dispose of these sad bits of fluff-covered plastic.

Behind me, I can hear the dogs muttering to themselves.

“Ok, so what happened to my sheep? Where’d he go?” asks Hunter.

“I dunno. There’s nothing here but a bunch of fluff. Sticks to my tongue. Yuck!” and Ramsey paws at his mouth.

“Wanna check out the yard?”


A thunder of paws hits the basement stairs as the pair head for the dog door.

Breathing a vast sigh of relief, I survey the carnage.

Yes, there’s a dead sheep in my living room and the dogs are nowhere to be seen.

They’re off on a new adventure, their latest act of butchery merely a distant memory.

Bev Hanna is a writer and published author. A recovering artist, she now teaches senior writers how to craft compelling stories and memoirs, and manages the Let’s Write group at the Askennonia Senior Centre.