Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Ken and Karleen Kantymir’s pet sheep Gin and Tonic would prefer to live inside the house, but they’re a tad too messy. (Contributed)Ken and Karleen Kantymir’s pet sheep Gin and Tonic would prefer to live inside the house, but they’re a tad too messy. (Contributed)
Gin and Tonic consider their next great adventure. (Contributed)Gin and Tonic consider their next great adventure. (Contributed)
The Kantymirs’ sheep like to follow their human companions closely. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)The Kantymirs’ sheep like to follow their human companions closely. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Nothing like a ball cap to keep the sun out of your eyes. (Contributed)Nothing like a ball cap to keep the sun out of your eyes. (Contributed)
Karleen Kantymir gives Gin and Tonic a hug. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Karleen Kantymir gives Gin and Tonic a hug. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Gin voices his view of having his photo taken as Ken and Karleen Kantymir pose with him and his brother Tonic. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)Gin voices his view of having his photo taken as Ken and Karleen Kantymir pose with him and his brother Tonic. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Gin and Tonic have a special street sign on their shelter. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Gin and Tonic have a special street sign on their shelter. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Gin and Tonic take the ride home in Kantymirs’ car. (Contributed)Gin and Tonic take the ride home in Kantymirs’ car. (Contributed)
Tonic, one of Ken and Karleen Kantymir’s pet sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Tonic, one of Ken and Karleen Kantymir’s pet sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Gin and Tonic pose for a photo in their younger days. (Contributed)Gin and Tonic pose for a photo in their younger days. (Contributed)

They can mow the lawn, fertilize the garden, inspect any project, take the ATV for a spin and, quite possibly, win over a person’s heart.

More than a year ago, Ken and Karleen Kantymir purchased two Old English Southdown Baby Doll sheep (‘Baby Doll’ for short) in Vernon.

With fuzzy faces, the brothers have a slightly teddy bear-like look. Their names are Gin and Tonic.

The Kantymirs enjoy pair names; their orange cats are Mac and Cheese and, for the sheep, they considered names like Bert and Ernie and Starsky and Hutch, but the English beverage seemed just the right fit.

Although the woolly boys do mow the lawn – usually in patches, do provide non-stop fertilizer and are very interested in every job or project their humans do, driving the all-terrain vehicle is a slight exaggeration. Not completely though.

Ken recounted how their son Nate was in the house one day last summer when he heard Ken’s little side-by-side ATV start up. Thinking it strange that his father had come home from work in the middle of the day, Nate went outside. There he found both sheep in the vehicle with the engine running.

Ken had forgotten the keys in the ignition.

“They had climbed in and nibbled on the key enough to turn it and they’d started it, and they were just standing there, both of them inside the ATV.

“So that was a pretty good story, a lot of our friends thought that was pretty funny.”

The Kantymirs decided to get the sheep when they moved out of town after their kids left home. Karleen had always wanted sheep and when Ken was growing up, his family always had 20 to 30.

“We always get a lot of comments. When I go to buy feed for them, or hay, they ask, how many sheep you got, and I say, I got two, and they all laugh at me.

“They say, what? Two sheep? Nobody has two sheep.”

You either have a herd of sheep or no sheep, laughs Ken.

“They’re just for fun,” added Karleen, pointing out they’re very gentle and low key. “Basically they’re just a grown-up 4H project for no reason.”

Ken said they are “definitely professional inspectors.”

“Anything you’re doing – like if I’m working in my shop, and they can get in there, they’ll get in there. They’re very social.”

Karleen told of the day when their daughter Sienna was cleaning her car and left the door open.

“She comes back outside and both sheep are in her back seat.”

The family has photos of the sheep “doing all their dumb things,” smiled Karleen.

Read more: Video – Big horn sheep find road salt irresistible in the Okanagan

Read more: Shuswap animal sanctuary hopes to give Shira the blind sheep a better life

She explained that Tonic is a little more skittish than his brother and is more alert to possible danger. While Gin, the bumbling brother, is like, “Whoa, whatever.”

Although the Kantymirs were well aware sheep are herd animals and should be kept in pairs at a minimum, they have been surprised just how social they are.

The sheep like to be taken on walks over to the river, especially when there’s grass to munch on, but if Ken and Karleen go for a walk anywhere without them, the couple hears about it.

The sheep come running, baa-ing and baa-ing, Ken said.

“Don’t leave us,” quipped Karleen. “All the way down the road, they’re still yelling, ‘Heyyyyy!’”

The couple is impressed with the sheep’s wool and how warm their skin remains in cold weather. Ken noted that’s why they’re such an old breed; they’re hardy.

Read more: Sheep strolls on Lake Country parkway

Read more: Dogs stick with sheep through wildfire

Another of the sheep’s quirks involves food. Taco chips, to be specific.

When the Kantymirs are sitting out in the yard in the summer, the sheep will crawl right up on their laps to get taco chips.

“They’re definitely motivated by food,” emphasized Ken.

Karleen said the sheep have taught her a lot about living in the moment.

“Because they only have this moment. They don’t think behind or ahead, it’s just right now. They’re really calming actually.”

Would she recommend them?

“If you’re into docile dudes who like to hang out with you, yes.”


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Nelson's Diana Morita Cole is the keynote speaker of the KDocsFF film festival. Photo: Submitted
Nelson author Diana Morita Cole to speak at film festival

She will share a virtual stage with actor George Takei

Some of the folks behind Angel Flight East Kootenay: Todd Weselake is a director, partner and pilot while Brent Bidston is the president and lead pilot of the not-for-profit. Pictured here with their older plane, they hope to get an upgrade for thanks to RDEK funding. (Image courtesy of Angel Flight East Kootenay)
Angel Flight secures RDEK funding for next five years

$100,000 will go to the not-for-profit each year, with the funds to be used to acquire a larger plane

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read