December 13, 2010

Then there were three

Today we said goodbye to our sweet Poppy.  She had been battling with health issues for well over a month.  What first started as an eye irritation progressed into what we believe was neurological damage of some sort.  We  took her to two different vets and had phone conversations with three others.  We tried antibiotics, eye drops, eye ointment, vitamin E, electrolytes, spirulina and apple cider vinegar.  We hand fed her cheese, scrambled eggs, bread, rice, milk and yogurt.  We did everything we knew to do, but our attempts were for naught.  It's hard to believe that just two short months ago, she was like this...

and for the last several days, she spent her time like this.  Her neck had started to bulge, her tail feathers hung low and she sat hunkered down staring at the fence.

Throughout it all, she still spent time with her friends, following them very slowly around the yard.  I think they sensed that something was not right and many times we would catch them surrounding her, as if to lend their support.

What has always mattered most to us with our pets is their quality of life.  I cannot count how many times I have prayed for a sick animal to die in her sleep, but unfortunately that only happens 99.8% of the time.  More often than not, we have to make the agonizing decision to have them humanely euthanized.


Sunday morning, I discovered Poppy could not get out of the nesting box where she had chosen to sleep for the last few days.  When I picked her up and put her on the ground, she fell over.  It had become increasingly harder to force feed water and foods down her and I knew it was only a matter of time before her body gave out.  She came in the house and we made her a nest in a cat bed and positioned her in front of a heater for the entire day.  The dogs and cats came by periodically to check on her and keep her company.  Spending the day babysitting a sick chicken was probably not how Neal wished to spend his birthday, but he was a real trooper and didn't complain a bit.  We continued to try to get her to eat or drink with no luck. That evening, we tucked her into a cat carrier in the bathroom and again I prayed she would die peacefully in her sleep. 

We made the appointment with our vet and stood by her side as she closed her eyes and drifted over to The Rainbow Bridge.  We cried, as we always do, and we silently thanked this special creature for coming into our lives.  We realize many people would have culled her long before now.  We were even advised that the best thing to do would be to hold her upside down by her legs and smash her head against a rock to end her life.  Quite obviously, that person had no idea who she was dealing with when it comes to animals!  To many people, she was "just a chicken".  To us, she was a beloved pet, worthy of the best care we could give her. 

RIP sweet Pop Pop. You will be greatly missed.

12 comments:

cousin Arnetta said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Poppy...
she gave you a lot of joy and fun times, & not to
forget the eggs she provided. I'm sure that her sisters sensed something was not right with her

A belated Happy Birthday to Neal.

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

Oh Lilla. I am so, so sorry. Poppy was so lucky to have good chicken parents. Bless your heart for all the love and compassion in it. I'm just so sorry.

Lilla said...

Arnetta and Penny...thanks so much!

AJ-OAKS said...

Lilla, I am so sorry about the loss of your Poppy. I was so hoping she had turned the corner and was on the track of getting well.
Reading your post the tears just rolled. You did everything you could possibly do for her. And yes, the 'big decision' is always the most heartbreaking.
Hugs to you.
And what a good hubby you have! Happy belated birthday to him.

Kuhns Acres said...

It is always hard to lose a beloved pet no matter what species they might be. You will never forget her.

morningbrayfarm said...

We are so very sorry... Lilla and Neal.

We're all sending our love to you tonight. You're right, she wasn't just a chicken. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

I have just come across your blog and enjoyed your story of poppy


there are alwasy a few hens that remain firm favourites ( I have 3 battery hens that are the apple of my eye)

nice to meet another hen lover!!

regards john
(wales UK)

Lilla said...

Cindy, Shelly and Justina...thanks for your kind words.

John...welcome and thanks for commenting. Nice to meet another hen lover, too!

alicemckay said...

I am quite new to your blog but I just wanted to send you my sympathy on the loss of your beautiful Poppy. It warms my heart to read about someone who values their animal friend's lives so highly. We are the same on our little farm. I love the video of the chickens and Neal playing chase! I'm sure in time when you are less sad you will have wonderful memories. Alice

Lilla said...

Alice, thank you for the condolences. I appreciate you commenting and welcome you to my blog. If you have a blog about your little farm, I'd love for you to share a link. It's always nice to meet fellow animal lovers!

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Poppy. I know she gave you lots of joy and that you gave her love and a wonderful home in return. It's alway so hard to let go of our animal children. My thoughts are with you. (((Hugs)))

Lilla said...

SVB...thank you for the kind words.