Sunday, November 22, 2009
Pleased to meet you. My dog killed your chicken.
And that is how I met my neighbors in the hulking chateau on the hill.
Yah. So that was fun.
When you think of chickens - those white things flopping around in crates about to be table scraps, this chicken was not that sort. This is Middleburg: The chicken was a large, tonally-greyed, luxurious, queen of an egg-layer.
The kind of chicken whose arrival as a chick at Martha Stewart's Cantitoe would have been covered by three TV crews and about whose development we would have read eighty blog entries. At state fairs, this is the bird a lot of guys in CAT hats gather around and say things like, "Now, that's some hen. Wish I had one like that! She's a beaut, Fred, I tell you..."
Her attacker, my dog, is black, perfectly fluffy, snuggly, and conversely, very brave and ferocious and is on staff here strictly because he is the last word in security around the place. He does a fine job in that regard: When you see him defending his family, you will think twice about dealing with him. He is not going anywhere except to a taxidermist when his long, long days are done, so don't get any ideas about how to "handle" the problem.
Anyhow, then I met the neighbor's best friend at the market. I introduced myself and she grabbed my arm and said, "Oh, yes! Chicken killer!" Fabulous!, "I can tell you how to fix this, it involves a shock collar..."
This is a problem for which everyone in a rural community has a different solution, like the common cold. None of them are particularly humane for the dog; as if the chicken had it all that great. I am still working that out.
Hunting is in some dogs instinctively. Like any good fox hunter will tell you, a dog is either a pet or a hunter, never both. One lives in the kennels, the other in the house. One is honed, the other has to be trained out of his instinctual habits.
Now, you might be thinking that here in fox country, the dog is not the chicken's only predator and possibly the chicken needs a different pen, which may be true. But you see, this dog of mine, his abilities are remarkable. Why, just today, he caught this Corgi.
Oh, alright. He catches her several times a day.
(That patch above his eye is from misjudging a fence post at top speed on his way to chase a cat. He's having a tough week.)