Annabel, Bram and Catootje. They're my moppies. Every day I care for them with love, I feed and water them, and after a life on far too few square meters, they now bivouac on 150m2 of landscaped garden, with space to bathe, hide from the rain, look for the shade and scare around. They sleep in the barn, on a bed of straw, each with their own nest. They got it right. And then....
Then a block away a huge dog escapes. A beautiful blue-grey dog, model Danish Dog, but slightly smaller. A bakbeast. As soon as he sees the chickens, he shoots right through the wire steel gate, the attachment of which snaps, and he runs after Catootje. He gets her before the owner catches the dog. The chickens fly apart, bringing themselves to safety except Cato. She gets stuck in a corner of the garden, the dog grabs her from behind and slides with his prey. Beautiful, nature.
Catootje screams and alerts my neighbor, who sees from the skylight how the owner jumps on top of the dog and “loose!” screams, while the dog still has Cato in his mouth. The dog lets go, and Cato runs to a sheltered place. The neighbor decides to find the animals immediately, now that the dog is back in the hands of the owner, and to take the chickens to the veterinarian. “Do everything you can to save them!” , she says to the vet. I'm on the road with the horse in the trailer, and I have no idea of this horror.
Catootje is operated on. Between her wings she has two large cuts, presumably from the canines of the dog. Her tail has been bitten off, both the feathers and the flesh around the tail bone, so that part, like the back, is cut clean, disinfected, rinsed and sutured. Brammetje was gone fast enough, the smart one, and she's got nothing.. Annabel has a shock. Her lobes are pale, and she breathes dangerously fast. She is also crippled, but probably this is just a sprain or a bruise; she has no wounds or fractures, but goes for two hours in a confined space on oxygen. She's clementing eyes, says the veterinarian.
End of the day, of course I've been informed and come home, neighbor and I pick up the girls; Catootje is severely battered and her friend Annabel protects her. As soon as a wild bird comes near, or Bram, she shields Catootje, and although in the evening they usually lie up and down in the straw, Annabel maneuvers between Bram and Catootje, so that Catootje has all the peace and space. What a sweetie.
I am super shocked and very grateful for the quick action of my dear neighbor. The costs are not easy, but the owner of the dog is well aware that the damage will be recovered from them, and she will pay me back the bill before she has even informed her insurance.
We are now 48 hours further, and the girls walk again quietly scurrying through the garden. Still a little alert and scary, but they eat, drink, poop, pee, walk and sleep, so I have every confidence in them.