In June 2008 I bought four turkey poults, assuring DH the entire time that these were holiday meals for us and our neighbors and I would not, would not keep them. Two were named Christmas and two Thanksgiving. One of the Thanksgivings was killed by an owl and eventually one of the Christmases became Timid Turkey (or just Timid). Fourteen months later, well past the holidays, we have three pet turkeys. If you knew me, this would not surprise you - at all. The upside is that the eggs are really good. The downside is that they were bred as meat birds which means that they are top heavy and not meant to live long naturally, at best until spring. However they have been doing fine, are very active and I didn't think anything about it until last week. Christmas, a very large turkey who also happens to be the most aggressive by far, developed a large swelling on one of her feet. The helpful people here let me know that it was known as "bumblefoot" which is usually thought to be caused by wet and dirty bedding. I thought that a little odd since they are semi-free range but thought that she might have cut her foot then stepped in poop or something. Did the research but I was skeptical about our ability to perform backyard surgery so I asked DH what he thought we should do and he said, "Take her to the vet." I raised my eyebrows but said OK. So today I took her to the only vet in the area who would see a turkey, namely an exotic bird specialist, to get it drained. Christmas weighed in at 28.5 lbs and is otherwise healthy. The vet thinks that the swelling is caused by a pressure injury because of her size but is a bit confused that it's only one foot. She looked at the fluid under a microscope and didn't see any infection but wanted to be sure that Christmas is comfortable so she sent us home with Metacam (painkiller), a prescription for antibiotics and foot wash solution. But first she asked if we still planned on eating her because we won't be able to if we give her these drugs. So now I am spending $145 to create an inedible turkey but I can't just leave her the way she is so I agreed. As I'm in the waiting room, I notice the pets around me and don't feel quite so ridiculous about my bird. In addition to puppies waiting for their first shots, there's one exotic bird waiting to get it's wings clipped, a cockatoo with a calcium deficiency, the world's ugliest five pound dog recovering from pancreatitis and, the best for last, a guinea pig waiting for a nail clip. But still, it's embarrassing. I have a gigantic turkey with a bad foot in a dog crate on a roll cart. On our way to go out to run errands and get dinner, DH and I drop the antibiotic prescription off at Rite Aid and now the situation starts seeming way weirder. I look at the prescription and see that the tech has written it out to suggest a recipe for dinner more so than a prescription. It starts off: "For Christmas (turkey):" and from then on I was just looking for the temperature of the oven. I handed it the pharmacist who immediately went on auto-pilot. "Has this person been here before?" "No. Um" pointing "it's actually a turkey." At first this doesn't register and she automatically asks the next question on her list, "Date of birth?" and the woman behind her starts to snicker. "I mean, do you know when he was born?" and she starts to smile. The guy behind her starts laughing outright. "June, 2008." I say and I'm smiling. "We'll just call it June 1, 2008," and she writes that down on the prescription. It is a testimony to the number of prescriptions that this woman must process every day that she asks this next question without missing a beat: "Is this turkey allergic to any other medications?" Now I'm laughing. Hysterically. But manage to get out, "You know, just fill it the way it is because we're just going with it." Finally she says that she'll put it under Christmas Engel and we leave. We come back an hour and a half later to pick up the prescription. I ask for Christmas Engel and the person who is still on duty immediately swoops down on us. Earnestly. Intensely. Overly so. "The turkey?" he says and I can tell that there has been some energy put into our Christmas' problem. "We called but didn't get an answer," he says accusingly as if I have fallen down on my turkey's potentially deadly issue and I can't help but think that this is evidence of vegetarianism if I have ever seen it. But he has a point and a very very valid one. The prescription, as written, costs $160. DH is coming down with something and is tired, knows my position on animal medical issues and medical issues in general, namely that it is very important to me to know that those I love are well cared for and so he blurts out, "Get it if you think it's best!" I just looked at him, knowing that in his tired state he was probably thinking about his mother who is in the nursing home and said, "No, hon. It's just a turkey." Never in my life have I experienced a better reason for putting an animal down. Heck, this girl should not have lived past spring. The fact that she is healthy and happy at the end of the summer is good enough for me. By this time, the guy behind the counter is pushing a packet of paper over to me. And here's the best thing that happened all day: he had put my turkey on the Savings Plan for uninsured/low income customers so that I could get any of 25 or so other antibiotics at $8.99-$15.99, depending on the quantity. I just need to call the vet tomorrow and get a new prescription. Now that is one lucky Christmas.