Thursday, August 26, 2010

Babysitting

Last week, I was asked to "watch the animals".  No, they were not referring to misbehaving children brandished "animals".  I truly had the opportunity to watch "animals".  I always look at tasks like this as an opportunity because I consider them adventures!  I mean come on, when someone asks you to keep an eye on two horses, one pony, one dog, four cats, ten chickens and one rooster, wouldn't you, too, call that an "adventure"?  Anyway, call me crazy...but I was sooooo looking forward to it!

    Well, now lets clarify a little.  The two horses...Zip and Phoenix...are the sweetest things you'd ever want to meet.  Then there's Harriet, the Shetland pony.  How could a pony named Harriet not be a "luv muffin"?  She is the roundest little thing, so short and stout, and has such a sweet disposition.  Now, to tell you the truth. they were the easy part of the job because all I did for them was to give them a little loving, a few apples and  fill their egos by telling them how handsome/pretty they were. 
There was only one dog, a handsome lad...smart as a whip and loves to be loved!  He, too, was going to be easy.  Although the first evening, he did growl (Note the body language on Day 1) as I walked up the hill from the driveway and neared the house.  But as it turns out, a little food, water and me chasing him and he was all set.  Then, he'd settle right into playing fetch with me each day after that (Note the body language...tail wagging, a happy face, and that's "let's go, JP" attitude!).


Then there were the cats..three...no four.  At least all I ever saw were four.  Three of them are really social, greeting me to get get the daily doses of love and petting.  Of the three, one is diabetic and is the sweetest, most handsome fellow you could ever meet.  He is definitely my favorite...such a love!  The fourth (who I call "Smoochface") is the shyest, at least when I'm around...that one I only saw for brief periods, while the other three I was able to give some scratching and loving to.  The cats are easy too...they just need fresh food, water and a little conversation.  Here's a pic of my favorite, Claude...he is huge and has the biggest paws I've ever seen.  I think he might be a Maine Coon.  His name says it all...down right handsome!


I must admit, though, that I was a little concerned when Lisa told me that Claude would need his shot twice a day.  I'd never given a cat a shot before.  But, once she showed me how easy it was to give, I was good.  While she was making a funny face, out of her little mouth came the words, "and then there's his pill."  "Pill?" I replied.  "You never said anything about giving him a pill."  Now anyone that's ever owned a cat KNOWS that they are not the easiest animal to give a pill to.  But, on the other hand, if you know Lisa, you know she'll make it sound sooooo easy and that's just what she did!   "See, that's it", she said, smiling. 

  So, the first evening was easy.  Eggs had already been collected that afternoon, horses were all accounted for, one dog, four cats, one rooster, nine chickens.  What do you mean only nine chickens?  Not on my first visit?  Count again, I told myself.  Oh my...I was right the first time...only nine.  So who's missing?  Good gravy, where was that funny looking one?  Where was Elvis?  She was no where to be seen.  So I went into the house to give Claude his shot and "the pill" thinking that she would show up while I was inside.  OK...focus I said as I gave him his shot.  Good...that went well.   Although I was second guessing myself on the amount of insulin to give him.  I rang Lisa...no answer...wouldn't you know it?  So, I left her a message and decided to move on.  Now came "the pill".  He spit it out the first time but with the second try, there was success!  I checked their food, water as well as Scooter's.  All good.  Now let me see if I can find that little whippersnapper, Elvis. 

Now lets "talk turkey"...I mean chickens and THE ROOSTER.  You don't know how badly I wanted to call Frank (Perdue, that is)  or the Colonel!

You see, I've watched these lovely ladies before and there was one in particular that gave me a tough time.  So I went into this assignment thinking she was going to be the tough one, but I was wrong. Oh, the food and water thing was easy...collecting the eggs wasn't bad either...it was sort of like being on a search for diamonds...they could be anywhere...in the nesting box, under the front stairs, under the back stairs...I'll bet if I left my Jeep there long enough, I would have found one in the hubcap!  Anyway, I looked at gathering the eggs as a good cardio workout.

However, what I found a little discerning was that each time I would go outside, that ROOSTER would approach me cluckin' away as if to say, "stay away from my girls and get out of my yard!."  Look closely at the picture of the chickens...after I walked up the hill from the Jeep,  Mr. Cock-A-Doodle-Doo was heading right towards me at a face pace when I snapped that shot!  I'm lucky to be alive!!!!

Are roosters supposed to be protective?  I've heard that goats are as well as donkeys, but roosters?????   Well, now Mr. Rooster...Mr. Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, here's a question for you:    If you're so darn protective, where in the world is Elvis?  YOU should have been watching her and not let her wander off.

As I walked around the yard, I saw no signs of Elvis.  Then in my head, I kept hearing the owners saying, "oh, she'll be back...she's just wandered off somewhere."  So, after about thirty minutes, I walked down to my Jeep, started it up and headed down the driveway.  I was worried though.  Just as I got to the end of the drive, I spotted her...just taking her sweet old time coming from the roadside!  Good gravy!  She shouldn't be wandering that far from the house..let alone near the road.  (You have to understand these folks have a LONG, LONG driveway.)

Then I thought about all the hawks we have in our area, and since she sticks out like a sore thumb because of her shape/size/coloring, she'd be an easy target.  I leaned out the window and said, "get back up there with the others"...as if a chicken could understand!  I watched her out of my side view mirror just saunter up the driveway, stopping along the way just a pickin' and a scratchin'.  I came to the conclusion that she was just like her owners...very laid-back.

Well, once I saw her heading in the right direction, I felt a sense of relief.  Let's see what tomorrow brings, I thought. 

The following visits all went well.  Everyone (so to speak) was where they belonged...everyone except Elvis.  Shots went fine and even "the pill" was going down on the first try.  I sat on the stairs with Scooter and chatted each visit.  He liked that.  However, for one entire day...three visits...Elvis was no where to be seen and I again was worried.  You know, my sister told me about hawks that come down and can get a chicken and I was concerned about that little devil.  The following morning (my last day), I once again counted heads...two horses, one pony, one dog, four cats, one rooster and yep, you guessed it....nine chickens!!  Now you KNOW who was not there for role count...the one and only wanderer herself.

Then Scooter brought me his football so we began to play fetch.  After we were done I went to check his food and water and as I looked down towards the bar-way...there she was struttin' through the tall grass!  Whew!  Now I can go home...ten chickens all present and accounted for!  I headed out while they were all present.  But...

I now have a phone number for Frank (Perdue that is) programmed in my cell...for next time...:)  So, it will either be THE ROOSTER or ELVIS!   Maybe we should vote?????

1 comment:

varunner said...

Thanks for taking such good care of everyone. Elvis is one strange bird. Sometimes we don't see her for a day or more. She'll be holed up somewhere random.

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