WARNING: This post is sad.
Then I saw it. A WOLF! Okay no. I don't think we have wolves here in Tucson. But we do have little coyotes and big dogs. And this was someone's husky that had obviously escaped and came to terrorize livestock on my property. Basically a wolf with blue eyes. Needless to say I was mad and scared for my animals.
So I went after the dog. And as any beloved pet would, it came bounding up to me with that stupid-I-love-you look on its face, just as happy as can be to see me.
Off in the background I saw him. My poor, sweet Ricardo. Dead. Murdered. Offed by that very dog.
"Bad dog! BAD DOG!" And he looked sad about it. Not that I think he really knew what he did. Ugh. Dogs.
I ran over and shouted at the workers, "WHOSE DOG IS THAT!?" They looked frightened of me. (Probably because talons were growing out of my clawed, angry fingers and my eyes were turning bright red.) But it wasn't their dog they said and also that they had chased it off two times before and didn't know it had returned. "IT KILLED MY CHICKEN!" I screamed. They stopped working and looked even more frightened.
I scooped up my Ricardo, who was still soft and warm, and placed him in the bed of my truck so I could deal with the dog. The workers shouted at me that someone was calling at us from the property line. Apparently, the dog's owners. They asked if I had seen a dog and I yelled, "YES, IT KILLLED MY CHICKEN!" Then flames shot out of my eyes and the owners and the dog were instantly incinerated.
No, not really.
I cried. I put a leash on the dog and tied him at the milking ramada. The owners drove up and paid me for Ricardo. Both apologized again and again. One even petted my little, dead rooster. They were very sorry. They said the dog had gotten out somehow and they had been looking for him. They took him away in their truck.
I buried my baby rooster. And that's the downside of free ranging chickens.
Rather than end here, I guess I'll try to be a little philosophical. His feathers were scattered here and there near the chicken coop. Why he didn't just fly back over the fence like he has done every day since I caught him sneaking out, I'll never know. Anyways, I found a tiny clump of his neck feathers and tied them to an old, rusted, unearthed horseshoe the workers dredged up when digging the wall foundation and placed that little memorial by our main gate. Sometimes chickens want to free range farther and wider than the range we give them. Sometimes, so do dogs. They can no more help being chickens or dogs than we can help being human.