My father called. (If he’s reading this, hi, Dad! This one I had to share…) Due to my stepmother’s adoptions of two dogs who’s owner had gone into hospice care, he now has five small black poodles in the house. At least one of them hates him. My father loves animals and is a basically decent person and so does not engage in the many fantasies he has of sending the dog to sleep with the fishes, but has hinted a few times that perhaps Poodle Rescue may wish to get involved.
He also has chickens.
One of these new small black poodles (I have met three of them, and they were reasonably good-natured, but had the peculiar I-so-could-not-survive-in-the-wild ineptitude unique to a purebred showdog) the one who hates him, has evidentally taken to killing chickens.
There are two kinds of chicken killing dogs. One kills chickens because it’s a neat thing that runs away! Cool! Like a tennis ball with legs! The other one kills chickens because they enjoy killing a chicken. It is possible to rehabilitate the first variety, by, for example, smacking the dog upside the head and saying sternly “DON’T CHASE THE CHICKEN!” (repeat as needed) Dad’s excellent Rottweiler, Brewster, had this problem, had sense beaten into him, and learned “Aha! I don’t chase the chickens! And if I can’t chase the chickens, nobody else gets to either!” and thereafter ran the farm with an iron paw, making a utopian world where chickens were kept safe from the depredations of other farm animals.* (The coyotes, skunks, etc, were another matter, but one dog can only do so much.)
The second variety, common wisdom has it, can only be rehabilitated by a completely chicken free environment, or a bullet.
Dogs, of course, are pack animals. If one mauls a chicken, the others, good dogs but lacking the strength of character inherent in Brewster, will be fascinated by the squawky bloody thing, and join in.
Although my father spared many of the details, I cannot shake the ludicrous and dreadful image of a pack of dogs made entirely of dainty, well-coiffed black miniature poodles, going in for the kill. It’s horrible, sure, I mean, the poor chicken, and yet…I mean…all those tiny black poodles…
The poor chicken. And my poor father, who I do not think has ever committed any act so heinous that he should have a murderous pack of poodles inflicted upon him.
Fencing was erected. The chickens are safe. For now.
*It’s worth noting that one of the dogs was allowed to pursue the chickens as long as the chicken never broke into a run. If the chicken ran, Brewster came down like a hundred and ten pounds of furred death on the offender. This dog would, therefore, follow his quarry, at a walk, for hours, or until the chicken got bored and stopped.