Charlotte tells Santa what she really wants for Christmas
I had to wait to post about this until I got the picture back!
Last Saturday, our local animal shelter (the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry OSPCA) was holding a "Pet Pics with Santa" fundraiser in Cornwall. I had made a joke to one of the volunteers about bringing in a chicken. I thought nothing more of it until I got an email from Christina last Saturday morning, asking if I was coming down with my hen, because they were all very excited about having a chicken visit Santa!
"Why not?" I thought. So I retrieved a cat crate from the garage, lined it with newspaper, and went down to tell Charlotte we were about to have a very big adventure.
Charlotte is very tame and enjoys being handled. She often sits on my shoulder or perches on my arm. She was good as gold when I slipped her into the crate. I covered it with a sheet in the car, and she was so quiet on the 25-minute drive to Cornwall that I was starting to worry she'd dropped dead from fright.
When I arrived at the pet store where the event was being held, I was pleased to discover that Charlotte was in fact alive and well. I took her into the store and gently retrieved her from the crate. I had no idea how she was going to act; she hadn't been off the farm since arriving in July 2009, and her last trip in a vehicle was on a big truck that brought her from the Frey's Hatchery to here. Day-old Charlotte spent seven hours in a dark cardboard box with her sisters before arriving at our local feed mill that day.
I had brought along a container of cut-up apples, one of her favourite treats. But no distraction was necessary. When I took her out, she acted as if this was something she did every day. Cool as a cucumber, she settled down in my arms and took in the scenery with nary a cluck. One of the shelter workers expertly picked her up to take to Santa and I complimented her on her chicken-holding technique. "I grew up on a farm!" was her reply.
She took Charlotte over to Santa, who didn't bat an eyelash. It was if he had hens in his lap every day! No doubt he gets letters from hens, too...
All I want for Christmas is deworming!
Can you please bring me a jumbo pack of mealworms?
Please can you leave some yogurt and waxworms in my stocking? Thanks.
It was all over in a (camera) flash, and I was inordinately proud of Charlotte for not pooping on Santa's knee. Afterwards, she had a little visit with her fans. An older couple came over to see her. The man looked like a farmer to me and was clearly bemused about me bringing livestock to the store, but his wife asked what breed Charlotte was (Harco black Sex Links) and gave her a stroke or two.
Another shelter worker (a lovely young woman named Sophie who adopted out our three-legged cat Alex to us in 2008) asked if she could hold Charlotte as she'd never held a chicken before. I transferred Charlotte over and after a little "settling-in" flapfest, she quietly sat in Sophie's arms.
Soon it was time to take Charlotte home to the farm. Not a peep was heard the whole way back. There was one little poop on the newspaper in the crate, and a stray feather in my car. I released her from her confinement and took her back to the coop, where she no doubt had many stories to tell her friends.
If anyone is interested in giving me a Christmas present, please consider making a donation to my local shelter. You can do that by visiting the OSPCA "Paws and Give" page. After you have selected your gift (you can donate as little as $10 for a cat or dog toy), you can direct the funds to go to a particular OSPCA shelter as you check out. Just be sure to select the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry branch. You'll be making Charlotte's admirers very happy! They work hard at our shelter, which has always been too small. If I ever come into money, I'm giving it to them to build a bigger place.
Next year, I'm thinking of taking a duck to the event. Squishy is pretty calm, although I suspect he'd have to wear a diaper to sit on Santa's knee!
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!