We came home today at 4:30 after being gone all day to find a dead and disemboweled sheep.
Actually Michael found her. It was Speckles. I was feeding horses in the big pasture and heard Michael call to me from the sheep/donkey pasture that we only had four sheep and the fifth was dead. The whole conversation took place with us calling back and forth about 200 feet away from each other.
Me: What?? I see the four...is that the fifth one way back there? (As I'm saying this I'm realizing that it's not normal for one to be so far away from the others...)
Michael: Yes, it's dead.
Me: Are you sure it's dead? Maybe it's just sleeping?
Michael: Oh it's dead alright.
Me: How do you know?
Michael: It's eyes are open and it's intestines are hanging out.
Me, jogging up the lane now: You saw it?
Michael, matter of fact and calm as could be: Yes.
the questions he had been asking about death and where we go after were
more clear to him. (Ah. I see. So the part that makes us "us" goes to
another place and this other part stays here.) We all went out to the sheep and Michael reached out to touch her fur. He wasn't freaked out. He touched her leg. He told her he was sorry.
We of course assumed coyote until we remembered there is a mountain
lion on the east side of town (in our old neighborhood of all
places!)--just a few miles away. A friend suggested we call the Division of
Wildlife and the guy on call called us back. Brad sent him pics and the
guy just said that there are some signs that it might actually be a
mountain lion. OMG! Nothing is safe from a mountain lion! I don't worry
much about coyotes with the horses, they typically ignore each other.
But a big cat!? Please pray and send good juju to the Mother Ranch. That
cat needs to be caught and relocated far far away!
UPDATE: The Wildlife guy suggested Brad skin the sheep's neck out to see what kind of bite marks were there. He did and we are now 99% sure it was a coyote. While not a happy thought, it's definitely better than the thought of a mountain lion lurking around!