Tuesday 27 November 2012

When a Dog Loves a Chicken

I don't actually understand completely how anyone could not love my chickens.  I intellectually 'get it' but I'm still blindly convinced that anyone who got to know my girls, would be unable to not love and cherish them. 

However I don't understand why our Jack Russell Madi, became madly infatuated with one particular hen.  It was most definitely puppy love - but with a big sprinkle o' crazy. 

The objection of her affection was our beautiful, brown red Pekin, Commemorative Wedding Chicken and pen champion (dictator), Selene.  It was full on, thunderbolt obsession.  Madi saw Selene and just went gaga. 

Oh we thought it was so wonderful and funny and cute and awesome.  Madi followed Selene everywhere.  Staring at her and staying close.  Selene learnt to ignore Madi and it just became standard behaviour.  

Madi had no interest in the 10 other hens we had at that time.  We'd never had a problem with Madi and the chickens in more than 5 years, so although a bit cautious, we weren't concerned about Selene's safety.  

The Paw that Rocks the Cradle  

(and other tacky, stalker movies from the 90's) 

Madi went true Hollywood, stalker movie character, bananas crazy in the end.  Why is it so easy to see this coming in a bad movie, but so much more difficult to accept in real life?

This obsession had gone on for 8 or 9 months and by that time we had moved to a different house.  I was outside, steering the hens from the garden back in to their pen.  Madi was around as per usual.  Selene was very close to the gate of the chicken house but then got spooked from Madi's closeness and me encroaching in on her to get through the gate opening.  Selene went to run and this sparked Madi off immediately.  Madi lunged at Selene.  She grabbed Selene by the wing and began dragging her around.  Selene was screaming and thrashing about, which only inflamed Madi even more so.  

I was screaming at Madi to let go.  I grabbed Selene and pulled her away from Madi.  Selene was still flapping about, scratching my arms with her claws and smacking me in the face with her wings.  I put her straight in to the pen and slammed the door.  I was really concerned that Madi would turn on the other hens, who were all coming towards the pen by then.  But the obsession with Selene held.  Madi had no interest in the other hens. 

I took Madi, led her out of the garden and took her inside the house.  I then returned all other hens to their house and finally cooled off.  I inspected Selene and found no damage.  Madi seemed to have grabbed a mouth full of wing feathers, rather than anything further down.  

A Lesson in Obsession

Like any obsession, it either wears out or blows out.  In this instance we were just plain lucky to have been there to save Selene.  These days Madi has forgotten about her crazy love.  She is no longer allowed to be with the hens in the garden or within reach of them otherwise. 

I guess sometimes we love our pets so much, we kid ourselves in to thinking that they've overcome some of their basic instincts.  It seems really stupid now that we let Madi live out her obsession.  But maybe it actually proves me right in the end.  Maybe anyone or anything who spends lots of time around my hens does inevitably grow to love them.  Even a dog.  

Selene, November 2012.  What's not to love?

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