An Australian veterinary surgery has shared one of the most breath-taking iterations of the Elf on the Shelf meme in a bid to encourage dog owners to get their pets castrated.
For anyone not up to speed, Elf on the Shelf photos involve people posing elf toys to suggest Santa's little helpers are up to no good.
This remarkable example of the format was shared by Gold Coast Vet Surgery in Queensland, Australia.
It shows the elf armed with scissors twice as big as he is, which look like they're about to snip off a dog's testicles. I can hardly bear to look.
Though the vets acknowledge this is perhaps not the best way to give dogs the snip, they're keen to raise awareness of the benefits of getting your dog castrated.
It both decreases the risk of testicular cancer and can reduce aggressive behaviours.
The vets wrote on Facebook: "Oh Nooooo Buddy... that's NOT how we do it.
"Our elf tried to get a little too helpful in the clinic today!!!
"But did you know that desexing or castrating male dogs reduces their chances of prostate problems later in life? It also eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer and calms hyperactive or aggressive behaviour.
"Desexing also reduces their desire to cock their legs and mark their territory indoors, and not to mention the risk of unwanted pregnancies.
"Call us on (07) 5538 5909 to book your dog in for the snip & we promise to keep Buddy away from him!"
Most people on Facebook loved the prank, with one commenting: "Lol, my boy is 8 months and staring down the barrel, this gives me something to torment him with."
Another said: "OK that is perhaps the funniest naughty elf story I've seen."
A third said: "That poor dog's dignity has left the building."
Although many people saw the funny side, some did not take kindly to the dog being co-opted into the prank.
One wrote: "I don't like this. Instead of just doing the surgery, they are going to play dress up while the dog looks to be still under just for a fb post."
Another said: "If that was a photo of my dog coming out of your clinic, I would be seriously p***ed. Show some respect for that trust that owners put in your clinic and care."
The vets later added a comment themselves to the post, saying: "Glad that the response is positive, we must say that we did think twice about posting this but thought you'd all enjoy a bit of a 'Friday Funny' & take it in the spirit that it's intended! Thanks for the feedback."Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Gold Coast Vet Surgery