REST IN PEACE MY TERESA – a sweet little speckled chicken

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Have you ever felt that you were connected to another living creature so much that when their life departed this world, the emotional trauma was too intense to handle? You can’t breathe. Your heart feels like it has been ripped out. You become almost too weak to stand, and the tears…..so many tears. It feels like your eyes become a mighty rushing river that is flowing over an edge of a cliff.

I have only been attached emotionally to two animals my whole life. When I mean “attached emotionally”, I mean my world sort of ended for a while when they passed from this life into their little backyard heaven in the sky. Animals have such innocent souls, and you can’t help to be enraptured by their presence.

The first animal who was my whole world, was a little dog named Chiquita. She was half Chihuahua and half Dachshund. She was the cutest thing and at times a pain in the heinie, but she snuggled her way into our hearts. We moved from California to Missouri the summer after I graduated from high school, and she made the journey all the way with us. We never imagined a day without her. We let her out to potty one day, like we had done dozens of times, but this time she decided to get out in the road and was tragically hit by a car. When I went to let her in, she was nowhere to be found. I went looking for her and calling her name. I had his heavy feeling in my chest, and I knew something was wrong. I inched myself to the road and as I got closer I felt this dread seeping into my chest. As I first laid my eyes on the road, I realized my search had ended.   I found her lying there on the side of the road. I thought my heart was going to beat right out of my chest. I fell to my knees with anguish and I don’t even remember rushing to the other side. My world ended just for a moment.  That little innocent soul was lost, and all we had now was the memories of our sweet little Chiquita.

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You don’t realize how attached you get to animals. Her death hit us all pretty hard. We never really had another dog in the house after that, at least none that I became attached to. I love animals, but for some reason I never allowed my heart to open up to another living creature quite so deep, until a few years ago.

About four years ago we got four chickens. They were all Speckled Sussex, and they were beautiful. Over time, I lost three of them and one survived. One……Lone……Chicken. Since she was all alone, I let her out of the coop and let her roam. She would hang out with the dogs, and then sometimes reside in the pen with the goats. At times she was just lay on the front porch, like she owned the place. She was just free to go anywhere she wanted to.

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One day, a few years ago, our youngest son thought we needed to name her since she was the only chicken on the farm. I thought that was probably a good idea, and I let him pick out a name. He came up with Teresa, so Teresa the Chicken, she became.  She also became my best friend.

You may ask, how a chicken could be anyone’s best friend, but she was. Teresa was the sweetest chicken you would ever get to know. She would come up beside me and just talk to me.  She was very vocal.  I would talk to her and I swear she knew every word I was saying.  I could be myself with her.  She just wanted a little attention and a little bit of food to keep her happy.  I know what you are thinking. “How can anyone get attached to a chicken?”  Well I really don’t know.  She found a place in my heart that was open. Whenever I went outside, there she was.  We would have these long conversations when nobody else was around and she looked at me with those innocent black eyes and she would purr and squawk.  It was like she was giving me all the answers to life, but unfortunately I didn’t speak “chicken”.  If only I did.

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Sometimes I would pick her up and she would lay her little red, speckled head on my arm. Of course, she was not like your normal pet.  She didn’t play catch, do tricks, or want to come sleep in your lap.  I know it is not normal for people to have a chicken for a pet, but she was mine.  She was a part of the family.

A few weeks ago I got a few more chickens and I put them in our coop.  I still gave Teresa the freedom I know she wanted and didn’t make her stay in the coop with the other chickens.  We started having a predator problem, and I got worried for her safety.  I made sure that all the chickens were safe in the coop, but this night I scooped up Teresa and told her that I believe she would be safer in the coop, just in case the predator comes back.

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The next morning I went out to check on the chickens and I noticed that the door was broken in to. The door was clawed and chewed up and panic set in. I went around the pen and two chickens were in the caged part, but I didn’t see Teresa.  I ran back around to the front and opened the door and just as I feared, there she was, just lying there.  I was hysterical.  A torrential flow of tears ran down my face.  I could not breathe and I just stood there for a moment in complete anguish.  I composed myself enough to run inside to tell my husband that she was gone.  I cried most of the day, and I just didn’t feel like doing anything but sit in my recliner and pine for my little red speckled friend.

I knew that I loved Teresa, but until I saw her laying there, lifeless, I didn’t realize how much she meant to me.  Animals are so easy to love. They don’t judge you or get mad at you. They don’t expect much and they are really great listeners.  You can talk to them about anything and they just sit there and take it all in.  Very few people in this world will just sit there and let you ramble on about things that are not really important to anyone else, but you.  Very few people will also love you completely unconditionally, but animals love you no matter who you are or what you have done.

There will never be another chicken like Teresa.  She is one-of-a kind, but to keep her memory alive, I have decided to immortalize her.  My dream has always been to write a children’s book, so the main character in my books will be Teresa.  I hope to make the world fall in love with the little chicken that captured my heart.  Rest in peace my sweet, little speckled chicken.  I am sure your enchanting personality has already captivated everyone inside heaven’s gates.  I will see you on the other side some sweet, glorious day.

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