Very much so. Life goes on, and I see that after I grieved the loss of that 'normal' child I never had, I was able to see that I have this totally unique amazing child. All her quirks and oddities, all of that adds up to a wonderful package and unique human being. She's so compassionate for animals.
So here is today's update. It's a bit backwards but I'm giving the update in order of importance I think.
Sunny, one of our 9 week black Jersey Giant pullets is gone. She is completely missing. It wasn't that she was out, or the coop was open, or that a predator got in. No none of these understandable things happened.
Sunny, was abducted by aliens. Chicken loving aliens that like to lick their butts I'm sure. Sunny was a very sweet big girl and we miss her dearly. What happened, you ask. Well you see we came home after a quick trip to the laundromat. We had gone off to the orthorpaedic surgeon's office for a check on Madi's foot and then we had to get this laundry done so we could be clean humans. While at the laundromat I registered for my summer and fall classes at school and we planned to go home and let the girls out of the coop since the rain had stopped and the sun came out. We load all the clean clothes up into the house and I went to change into warmer clothes to work in. While in the bathroom I noted that Madison had run out the back gate from the yard into the pasture without closing it, in her hurry to release the birds!
I went to go out our back door, being careful not to let our dog, Daisy; the notorious chicken chaser, out. I am no match for her 100lb body of muscle and she shoves my legs aside to run through the door and quickly squeeze through the gates meager opening. I yell for Madison to grab the chickens quickly and block Daisy. I ran out as quick as I could and started chasing Daisy to at least divert her long enough for chickens to escape. I only saw 3 girls out, my 2 light brahmas that are 5 weeks old and Sunny. I see her round up towards Sunny as she runs for the coop, Sunny gets away easily as Daisy has her sights set on the larger prize. She sees my Brahma babies and she goes for them. They are small but they are quick and they can run under the coop for safety. She seems to almost get one and the words of my best friend are echoing in my ears from the day Daisy got out and chased her rooster "not that one." Please, Daisy don't hurt my Brahma babies is all I can think. I'm so attached to those 2. I'm angry at her for being disobedient. I'm upset that my daughter was careless with the gate. I'm frustrated that after all this time I still can't get my dog to listen to me in the thrill of the moment.
I squat down coming to Daisy at her level and give her the meanest I mean business voice I can give. I tell her to stop and sit. I keep telling her this until she stops backing away and sits down. Her haunches are not settled into the ground, still ready to take flight after my birds, and her eyes are still shifting to the door of the coop hoping for a bird to come out. I slowly make my way up to her and grab the chain on her pinch collar. I had decided to leave it on her after the 5 birds went out the other day. It's too hard to keep hold of her with the harness and a regular collar comes right off her head. I successfully get in her in the house while my daughter wails in the background. I'm frustrated with her and I want to tell her to stop crying and just help me, but I don't because I know how upset she is and it's how I feel too. I know my frustration with her is really my frustration with myself and the dog.
So we begin checking on chickens. Autumn and Summer are still in the coop, they decided not to chance it until they knew for sure it was safe. Jacqueline and Marian were off scratching for worms in the dirt happy as clams. Ok, 4 down, 1 to go. Sunny. Where is that bird? We start walking through the pasture looking for her everywhere. We walk through the tall grass, look over the fence in the irrigation ditch, look in my neighbors yards, look in our backyard, look in our side yard, look under rocks, under buildings, walk down the alley between our houses and the houses on the next street. I look in the canal where the mallards are contentedly swimming in debris. I even looked in my house in case she had somehow gone inside when I didn't notice. We looked everywhere for this bird. She's just, gone. Madison was there the whole time and despite her being distraught she had seen Sunny near the fence when she was looking to check the Brahmas.
Sunny is gone. Sunny, our favorite Jersey Girl, is gone. My heart sank, then it crawled up into my throat and found itself a new home where I choked down my own tears so I could buck up and take care of business. Unable to soothe Madison and handle the practicalities, I handed her the phone for her daddy to talk to her. He calmed her down while I focused my energy on making the chicken run. Drill, screw, cut, move, measure, cut, drill, and so forth until frames came together with tears in my eyes. I kept looking for a sign that Sunny was alive or in shock, hiding somewhere nearby. Perhaps a neighbor had her in their yard and they would come out and exclaim, "Oh look at this marvelous chicken, how did she get in my yard!?" Nothing happened to help us find her. Sunny is just gone. If she did get out of our pasture in the chaos she could've been taken by a predator or been scared enough to escape into the arms of another predator in a neighbors yard.
It breaks my heart to know that one of the most sweet, docile, giant bird that is so defenseless, is on it's own. Please, Lord let that chicken be in a tree or hiding under a shed. Let some chicken loving neighbor have found her and adopted her if they don't bring her home. Let anything happen but for her to have died because of our stupid dog.
Daisy is going away tomorrow. She shall find a new home where they let her run around chasing stuffed animals and licking butts. I have tried my best for the last year. She has been a great dog and very well behaved in many situations, except the ones that matter the most. I have tried working with her diligently and consistently. She just doesn't want to listen. She isn't stupid, just willful. She refuses to accept me as the master and nothing I do short of become a prison warden will work with her. I don't have it in me to keep it up and hope she changes. I told Madison it was the dog or the chickens because I just can't do it all. I'm one woman and I try to be all things that we both need in this house, but today I can't be a dog trainer.
Madi asked if Daisy left would Sunny come home. Sadly, I don't know but most likely not. We are very very sad tonight. I know it happens, I know it's a chicken, I know it would happen eventually. It's still hard.