Thursday, April 04, 2013

How Feathers Save Chicken {and dog} Lives

Never, ever in my whole life have I been more grateful for real, live, breathing chickens than I have been today.  Here's why:

Part One: Remember how I moved back to Utah and have been reunited with my mountains?!
Well you better believe that once the weather warmed up, I've been making love to those dirt trails like no other! Actually, my shoes have. But you get the idea.
Lola and Piper have shared my enthusiasm and have been on cloud nine with all the new smells and poop trails that they've found along the way. Lola has been such a good girl lately, I've been able to let her off the leash so she can run and play as she pleases. You want to know why she can do that? It's because she comes running right when I call her name. Like the angelic dog that's burried deep within tells her to. Piper is still leash bound because her adventurous spirit tends to tune-out the sound of my voice once that leash is unclicked from her rhinestone collar.  The devil on her shoulder tends to drown out the angel on the other side. 

Part Two: Today, when I went home for lunch, I brought them out to the field next to our house to do business. Piper was leash bound and Lola was wandering, looking for the perfect spot to drop it.
All of a sudden, something caught Lola's eye. It was the neighbor's chicken that had somehow escaped the safety of the chicken-wired fence and was out-and-about exploring the wilderness of their backyard. All it took was the movement of feathers and Lola was off to smell out this new creature. My heart sank as I tried to run inside as fast as possible to lock Piper up {believe you me, we did not want Piper in that mix} and retrieve Lola before the smell of chicken brought out her inner bird-dog. No sooner had I closed the door before I saw Lola prancing across the field with her new-found toy. I was sick and starting to cry as I ran toward her, praying that somehow, the chicken would be okay.
She approached me, so proud of her big feathered prize, and to my relief, the only thing that her teeth had grasped was a mouth full of feathers on the back of Hulda {yes, I've named the chicken. We'd been through too much together at this point to not have given her a name}. I pryed Lola's mouth open and released the timid bird who ran to hide behind a bush while I drug my disappointed puppy inside to join her sister.

I returned to the field to look for my new friend, who I found hovering underneath a patch of thorny bushes. I picked her up without protest and cradled her like a baby.

The Part That's Somewhat Unrelated, Yet Necessary To The Story:
I feel like now would be a good time to insert the fact that, although I am a huge animal lover, I have had difficulty considering chickens as a receiver of that love. Mostly because I've been attacked by so many of them. I had one rooster who took it upon himself to be my horse's personal body guard. The only way to retrieve my horse was to go out in the field with a pitch fork and pocket full of rocks to ward off the claws of the attacking bird. I've hated them ever since.

Hulda was the most precious chicken I'd ever seen. She rested in my arms without complaint, and call me crazy, but I think she actually enjoyed the cuddling while I hiked around trying to return her to a place of safety.
To my dismay, all of the doors to the chicken coop were locked. My next option was to knock on the neighbors' door and come up with an explanation as to why I was holding their feather barren chicken. It had to be a good and believable explanation, one that wouldn't make them want to kill my dog. But yet again, it was a dead end. My only other option was climbing the fence. A fence that was lined with chicken wire and wouldn't allow climbing with my current and oversized bootwear.
You guessed it, boots came off and I was barefoot, climbing a fence, in someone else's yard, with someone else's chicken, in my professional work attire, like a freaking hill-billy!
But it was all worth it to see the relief in Hulda's eyes once she was back in the pen with her goat friends. Poor baby.

And that, my friends, was the day I was glad that chickens have feathers.
Not just because I love feather earrings, but because feathers save lives.
Obviously I'm feeling extreme satisfaction right now. I probably will be able to eat dinner {my nerves wouldn't allow lunch} and the shaking of my hands has subsided. All is well with the world and Lola will no longer be allowed off the leash in bird infested areas. Her instincts are stronger than the sound of my voice.
But you know what's stronger than instincts?
Prayers for a bird named Hulda.

1 comment:

Casey Aslan said...

New reader here! Loved this post and it made me laugh out loud! Points to you for picking the chicken out of her mouth and holding it afterwards...don't think I could do that!

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