I am still staying with Christian and Zach at First Lady Farms. As I’ve already written, earlier in my stay I set off the security alarm 3 times in 3 days. (I’ve tackled that skill, thank you very much!) I’ve tried to compensate for that stupidity by getting all other rules and practices exactly right. Yesterday I got home before either Zach or Christian (I was dog and chicken sitting only for the weekend). The three dogs greet the first adult home as if the messiah herself has arrived!
One of the rules of this urban farm is to check the back yard to make sure there are none of the 13 chickens out of the chicken yard before you let the dogs out. As part of my orientation, I was told that the dogs would eat any chickens that they found loose in the yard. I have EVERY TIME checked the back yard for loose chickens before I let the raucous dogs out. Since there had never been any chickens out when I checked and the dogs were especially wild last night, I just let them out without checking. Then as I turned the corner from the back door, following the dogs, I saw the yard—LITTERED WITH CHICKENS. And the dogs were running wildly toward them!!
I cannot adequately express the sheer panic that I felt. I mean, the visions that started flashing through my brain were horror-movie worthy. I literally expected to watch the equivalent of the Chainsaw Massacre. I envisioned blood and feathers and squawking and screaming (me the screamer)! The envisioned magnitude of the potential slaughter was incomprehensible in those moments. All of these animals are referred to as the owners’ “babies.” My mind even imagined the devastation and anguish when Zach and Christian returned home to the scene of such carnage. Life seemed to go by in slow motion. I wondered how fast I could pack up my things and travel to another state. I didn’t know how I could face my friends—all because I broke one of the rules, all because the dogs seemed extra feisty that day. I had to do something, but what?!
The dogs, of course, were all peeing. I HAD to get them back into the house. I started immediately calling them to come to me. The smallest boxer came immediately and ran into the house. No time to celebrate yet. I went back to entice the big dogs. They were still peeing…such loo-oo-ong pees. The chickens in the meantime were acting as if their lives were not in grave danger. La-dee-dah! One continued to sit in the planter that the dogs ran past to get to the yard. Others just pecked around in the yard as if doomsday had not just arrived. Meanwhile the second dog finished peeing and I enticed him into the back door as well! Oh.My.God! I was 2/3 of the way to redemption. Please Holy Ones, let this final dog come to me when he finishes peeing. I called, he came. OH! MY! GOD! When I opened the door to let the third one in, the other two pushed past him and ran back out the door.
NOOOOooooooOOOO! Panic replaced the hope that I had started to feel. Time to put on a show! I acted as if the best thing that ever happened to them was waiting IN the house. The feigned excitement in my voice did the trick: the two came back in.
Next I had to herd the chickens back into their own yard. Some went in, some didn’t want to. After I shooed some in and went for others, the first ones came back out. It seriously could have been a scene from a comedy routine. Eventually I had all the chickens ensconced in their chicken yard and the dogs in the house. (I didn’t know that the guys sometimes leave the chickens out during weekdays and this was the first time that I had gotten home before them.)
I hope that I never again feel the horror of thinking I was going to watch such a massacre (and one possibly of my own making). After I calmed down, I had a glass of homemade mead (made from Zach and Christian’s own honey) which is literally on tap in the dining room. See? All’s well that ends well. Especially when you have a little bit of mead to ease the pain away.