Saturday, October 23, 2010

One down, fourteen to go

Before we ever had kids, my husband and I debated which one of us was going to be allergic to dogs and cats when any future children started asking for one.  We had no interest in having pets.  I was scared to death of dogs.  I had been attacked twice in my life, and in the stream of dogs that went through my childhood home, I didn't get along with a single one of them.  And then we move to the country with four children.  Coyotes run free out here.  We had to get a dog to protect our kids.  We searched for a large dog that was good with kids and could live outside.  We found what we think to be a Burmese Mountain Dog named Roy at a Humane Society foster home, and he fit all of the criteria.  So, one month after moving into our new home, we brought home a dog.  In hindsight, we really should have had one more criteria, considering we had free-range chickens all over our yard. 
The moment we got home, I snapped a leash on Roy and took him for a tour of the property.  He enjoyed stretching his legs, exploring the barn, and urinating on every third tree.  Then he took an interest in the rooster.  I let him follow a few feet behind the chicken, and all seemed fine.  We came around to the front of the house, and right smack in the middle of the walkway to the front door the rooster spun around three times and landed in a heap.  All I could think was, "What in the world just happened?  Do chickens play possum?"  Thanks to the dog going crazy, I was able to shake myself out of the shock and scream for Husband to get his rear end up here.  I let him nudge the bird to see if it was still alive, but no such luck.  Apparantly, chickens don't play possum, but they do have heart attacks.  Who knew?  Nothing of the kind was mentioned in our chicken raising books, that's for sure.  So, I learned a hard lesson about chicken behavior (granted, not as hard a lesson as the chicken got), the children learned a lesson about life cycles, and Husband learned how to dispose of a dead chicken.  Valuable lessons all.  Too bad it was only the first in a long, long line of hard lessons.  For the next year, the most frequent phrases out of our mouths were, "Is that normal?" and "Now what are we supposed to do?"