Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Don't look a gift chicken in the beak

One of my coworkers came in from walking Montana today and said, "There's a chicken out there, tied to a tree."

Say what? "Really, it's a chicken, just tied to a tree, no note or anything."

I had to go out and see. Sure enough, there was a black and white barred hen, with a thin string tied from its shin to a little seedling. It was yanking on that string, trying to run away from me, and that little string was cutting and bruising her leg.

I grabbed her and untied her and brought her inside. We all checked her out admired how pretty she was. "Should we call animal control to come get her?" my staff asked. "No," I said, "I'll just take her home to live with my other chickens; I already have 5 hens."

About an hour later, the kennel boy said, "I think you stole someone's pet chicken." Why do you say that, I asked. "Because there's some Asian lady out here asking for her chicken."

We are next door to a Chinese restaurant. It seems some Asian friend stopped by to visit someone at the restaurant and left her chicken tied up out back (I'm not kidding). I didn't have time to talk to her, but she told my co-worker the chicken lived in her backyard, and she didn't think the string would hurt it. They gave the chicken back.

Later, after I'd left for the day, another Asian man walked into the clinic and asked in a heavy accent, "You wan' chicken?" holding the same hen out to them. The staff took the chicken back for me, and she is waiting in a cage for me to get her tomorrow.

At home, I was digging a grave for a patient (for real). I had put to sleep an elderly lady's elderly Pomeranian. This dog was 15 years old. Recently she had lost 27% of her body weight - making her a mere 4 lbs. Labwork revealed she was in advanced kidney failure, so I convinced the old lady to euthanize the dog. "I'm not sure what you want to do with the body," I said, "We offer cremation services, or some people prefer to take their dogs home to bury." "Oh no, I can't do that, I live in a, well, an old folks' home, and they won't let me do that," she said. "I asked my son before, and he won't let me bury her in his yard, either." I sensed she didn't like the cremation idea. I hesitated briefly, mentally weighing the patient in my mind. "Would you prefer I take her home and bury her in my yard? I have already buried two of my pets there." "Oh, Jennifer," she said in a sweet Texas drawl, "If you would do that, I would be so grateful."

Anna was pretty curious about the little dog, and I don't want her to be afraid of dead things, so I let her "help" me dig the hole and look at the dead creature. Colin woke up as we finished, and both of them threw dirt on the tiny grave with gusto. What a send-off! Although I was sad for my client's loss, her dog is layed to rest in a shady spot in my backyard, where soon a new chicken will reside.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, Jenn, Jenn, I both cried and laughed at your post! You are so gracious and loving -- to all -- and your family, especially, loves you for it!!! Love you, M

EdamameMommy said...

I'm glad you put parentheticals of "for real" and "I'm not kidding" because I would not have believed otherwise. I would have seriously thought you were yanking our string, I mean chain. RIP little Pom. Can we look forward to black and white speckled eggs? (Nice contrast to the browns and blues, I'm thinking!!!) Oh, and aren't you worried she might have avain flu? (Hope you watched the Daily Show's spoof on Bush's comments regarding that, it was hillarious) But seriously, are there bird viruses and diseases this bird might bring to your Pflugercoop?

Dad said...

AW shoot..........
maybe if you guys don't go to Canada I'll ask to be buried in your busy backyard too!

paula said...

That is such a bizarre post - I had to read it twice to make sure i took it all in!!! That was such a sweet thing to do for that lady bet she feels a lot more settled now. What about the chicken!! That's so fab that you have adopted it but as Steph says, aren't you a tad concerned about the bird flu thing? XX

Anonymous said...

WOAH! Do you always have days like this at work? Sounds like you stay on your toes! =)

I'd be interested to find out about that chicken and if it really does carry the "flu"........

Love-Bevie-

Emily said...

I wonder why they wanted to give up the chicken after retrieving it? I was worried when you said there's a restaurant next door that this chicken was meant for the ax... Hope your chickens treat her well. I know they can peck the heck out of new arrivals.

Daddy's comment cracked me up! It's so incredibly nice of you to bury the Pom. When Ben died, the clinic didn't tell me my options, so I just left him there. I was so distraught, but I wish now I had a paw print or something.

Aunty Norma said...

..as I have said before"It's the way ya tell 'em!!"..oh,Jennifer, nobody can write a book that's as interesting as your Blog writings haha thank you for my daily dose. xx

paula said...

Yes Emily, that was my first thought when Jenn mentioned the restaurant next door!!!

When our dog Ben died of a heart attack at home in Bridgewater Street I was at work and mum, dad and Bill were with him, the vet came and just stuck him in a black bin bag and carted him off. It was so undignified. We kept his collar though.

angie said...

What a great story. My kids have been involved with pet burials as well--I think it's important, and it's great that your children got to "practice" and learn with an animal they didn't have an emotional attachment to. I wish we could have chickens here, but I'm afraid the foxes and raccoons would make short work of them. What I wouldn't do for fresh eggs every morning... yummm!