Go Geocaching and Don’t Forget Your Sheep

Here’s a little geocaching scenario for you. You’re about to embark on your next geocaching adventure. Your mind starts racing through the all-too-familiar checklist: GPS (check), pen (check), extra batteries (check)… wait, you’re forgetting something. What could it be? Extra batteries? Nope. You almost forgot to bring your stuffed-animal sheep. Whew, that was a close call.

That’s the actual geocaching checklist for Ontario’s Cheryl Shaw and her husband Dave Devine. They call themselves “Team Sheep.”

Cheryl and Dave (minus sheep)

Cheryl and Dave started geocaching just over a year ago. Almost all of their 401 finds share something in common— a picture of their stuffed animal sheep with the cache. Cheryl says, “I now own more pictures of that sheep than I do of my family.”

The whole practice of posing a stuffed animal by a cache began innocently enough.

Cheryl says, “It all started with some travel coin I picked up. They wanted a picture with the coin and me. But somehow I didn’t feel like being photographed that day. So I looked around my house for something cutesy to photograph with the coin and found ‘sheep’ sitting on my sewing table. ‘Good enough,’ I thought, and out the door I went to go caching. Since then, I have photographed the sheep at every cache we have found.”

Sheep proposes

The sheep, and his wardrobe, evolved. He now has several outfits, everything from a karate uniform, fatigues and a hockey jersey to seasonal outfits for Easter, Halloween and Christmas. He even has a tux.

Cheryl says that the sheep recently got serious about a relationship: “Last week he even proposed to a fellow cacher ring and all!”

The other cacher had just gotten engaged. Cheryl says the sheep has developed his own personality. The log that accompanies the proposal picture reads: “We told the geo sheep about how Lisa got engaged and he was a little heartbroken, ‘Tell her that if things don’t work out with that nano guy I’m available!’ he said.’Sure thing’ we said, ‘You were definitely her second choice.'”

“It certainly adds to the fun to geocache with an avatar,” Cheryl says. “Cache owners have appreciated the sheep pictures. When people contact me they act like sheep is real, such as ‘say hi to sheep for me, or sheep looked very handsome today or sorry I missed meeting the sheep.'” She has even received fan mail for sheep.

Even if you never see sheep on your geocaching rounds, Cheryl hopes the idea travels. “I would thoroughly recommend that other cachers use an avatar. It’s fun. It’s more than just signing a log and running away. We try very hard to pose the sheep and take several pictures, choosing the best one for the web page.”

She says that there are other benefits to using an avatar as well.  “We tend to remember all our caches better, and best of all sheep always has some smart remark or stupid joke about the cache. (He can get away with saying things I can’t.)”

With more than 400 cache logs in one year, there’s no telling where sheep may show up next. If you’re in the Ottawa, Ontario area, you can now visit Cheryl’s first “sheep-themed” cache, “The Sheeps’ Revenge” (GC25CMF).

Would you ever consider using an avatar? What sort of avatar would you use?

  • Scott Bradshaw

    Very nice! i also have an avatar, Penelope Possum, and she goes on holiday everywere with me! i’m new to the geocaching world but have every intention to take penelope with me whilst hunting 🙂 even have a “paw print” stamp for her to sign the logs with

  • musthavemuzk

    we do not have an avatar, we have a mascot. G.O. Cache. Garridon Orion Cache is a lion that goes with us. he is always in the cache bag, sadly we do not always take him out for pics or to take in the sights. Bad us!

  • Tigerlea

    I have an “avatar”, as it is called here, but he is not just used for geocaching! He is my “travelling gnome”, so it just made sense to bring him caching with me and having pictures of him with the caches instead of me! He, however, does not have his own costumes.. The sheep is quite cute 😀

  • Castle Mischief

    It’s Shaun the Sheep!

  • Akfuzzydice

    My daughter brings her Teddy Bear when we cache. Check out my gallery for some cute photos of us in Hawaii.


  • Bettybaxter161

    I loved the sheep. What a cute idea. I have a small stuffed squirrel that I take with me since I am known as “squirrel #1” around here. I have never taken pictures with him at the caches , but I might just start.

  • Hannibal Schlechter

    That’s so awesome! I love the idea and cute poses.

  • cakers_au

    Does your sheep have a facebook too?
    I have one that has outfits and travels a lot…I thought I was the only one 🙂

  • Po1ar

    I have a caching buddy that goes with me too. Stu the gnome. He has a facebook page too. Startlike Stu. Stu even hiked the Chikoot Trail with me this summer. Silly Gnome!! LOL!!

  • Kathyifft

    I just might find my own ‘Sheep’ what a nice idea

  • G.O. Turlte

    I use a stuffed animal as my avatar. Actually, he’s the team leader. G.O. Turtle. I’m just the driver ’cause his legs don’t reach the gas pedal. He is a toy that I got when I was going to be a social studies teacher. His shell is a globe. I use him for pics when I have to take a pic of myself for an earth cache, or sometimes, just for the fun of it.

    I never thought about outfits! Hmm….

    Donna, Friend of the Turtle

  • Shari

    I love this idea. I think we will have to come up with one of our own. Maybe a leprechaun, lol.

  • ozkar55

    Not Baaaah’d , it makes things more fun. My avatar is a polar bear.Most would rather see it than my face.. ;-D

  • Dana Lanceman

    when we went to ontario last year and saw cheryl1710’s pictures, we got ourself our own two mooses that we go geocaching with. we’ve taken almost no pictures without them since! thanks so much for introducing us to this in august, it is very fun. but my logs aren’t as good. 🙂