It was a nice, spring Sunday morning. We had just returned from Chicago Chicken Rescue with our new friend Comet. I was out in the back watching Buffy and Comet getting to know each other.
A teenage boy walked by the backyard then rang the front doorbell on the house.
“We think you have our chicken.”
And he meant Buffy, not the new chicken, so his claim held some weight. Apparently, grandma had left the backyard gate open a couple of weeks ago.
But, but, but…Buffy loves us. She comes running up to me out of love, not because I’m a giant food source. We’ve gotten her a cage! And a friend! (Other than me, because she mostly loves me in a true and genuine and not simple bird-brained sort of way.) Are you sure you want your chicken back? Can we buy your chicken from you? The chicken has been gone for over two weeks…you can’t possible care about Buffy like we do. He went to check with his dad.
Dad and son return minutes later. Apparently they live just across the alley and down the street from us. Yet they have not seen this chicken and realized it was theirs. We ask dad about buying the chicken from them and he seems to consider it, but then says, “The 11-year old brought the chicken home from school and when the chicken was missing, she cried.”
Okay, fine…I’m not keeping a chicken from it’s crying 11-year caregiver. She’s probably been holed up in her room, weeping into her pillow every night in a combination of loss and guilt for losing the only true friend she’s ever had. She needs her chicken back.
“Here, here, take the chicken.”
“No…you have given the chicken a good home. You have gotten a friend for the chicken. You keep the chicken.”
“No, no…I can’t keep the chicken from the girl.”
“Really, no, it’s okay; you keep the chicken.”
After a few more minutes of back and forth, it was decided that we would, in fact, keep Buffy. We gave the neighbors the information for Chicago Chicken Rescue in case they wanted to get a new chicken.
And, as one does, I went to a lecture about a woman who made miniature models of crime scenes used to help teach police officers forensic investigation techniques.
After a delightful afternoon of hearing the stories behind these tiny death dioramas, I returned home to continue trying to get Buffy and Comet to like each other.
I was outside for, maybe, 15 minutes when I saw them coming down the street. Three young people. An older teenage boy, an 11-year-old girl, and a younger 8- or 9-year old little brother.
And the girl had a chicken in her arms.
Indeed, they had taken the idea of Chicago Chicken Rescue to heart. They went and got two chickens. One for them to keep. One for them to trade for Buffy. There was no point in negotiating. Buffy was leaving. Crossing back across the alley to her previous home. I cried a little.
Oh…and remember that chicken that we had rejected earlier at Chicago Chicken Rescue? The one that seemed too aggressive? Yup. That’s Beaker. Beaker likes to peck. But I couldn’t bring myself to name her Pecker.