Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Whole Sad Story!

WARNING: This is a super sad story about the death of our last baby chick
(Minutes before her fatal end, Curious George playing with Dacie)
Many people think I am a mean mom for not allowing my children pets. After this incident happened I remembered why I do not. It is NOT necessarily the extra care (paricualrly w/ bigger animals) BUT the attachment I form with them, even with the smallest of creatures...and as most things do indeed die my heart hurts. My heart can only worry and be sad about so many things....besides the fact, that on my mission I saw allot of nasty pet situations!
As many of you are aware of, little Ryland got 2 chicks for his third birthday from my parents. One was BRIGHT blue (OGAN) and the other was a Rhode Island Red (CURIOUS GEORGE). The chicks were absolutely adored by the neighbors, our cousins and my children. They LOVED looking at them and taking them out every day. Two days after Rylands birthday little OGAN diappeared! We kept them in our garage for warmth and protection. It had been a beautiful day outside, so I left the garage door open and the box lid as well, so that the chicks could enjoy the sun. They were set back pretty far in the garage, so I felt like I could hear them. Too bad baby chicks are little chippers, so when they got ecpsecially loud at one point I did not even consider they may be chirping at an intruder. But alas, when I went back out to check on them OGAN was gone. We looked everywhere in a panic. There is aboslutely no way out of the box. He was gone.
Not too long after, Dan went out to the car and opened the garage door... and there stoodw one of the NASTY stray cats in our neighborhood just waiting by the door. Dan watched him as he just stared at the box..and then Dan went and got his pellet gun. We then knew what had happened to OGAN-- I am glad we did not see feathers or anything of that sort. OGAN was the sassier of the two...so we settled into a quieter way of life with our Curious George.

Dan was not very enthusiastic about taking on a pet, and having to build a coop etc. BUT as the days went on I noticed him turning 'soft' on me. He let little C.G. (abbreviations for Curious George, for the sake of the story) sit by him at the table while he was doing money. Dan also, a few times, cleaned up the chicks pasting (NOT a very FUN job) and washed her and blow dried her. Dan also let the chick run around the house and laughed at it, as it started following us around as it imprinted. C.G. especially was fond of Dacie--Dacie was not sure what to do with such a little admirer. At first Dacie scream, but as you can see in the pictures, she began enjoying a little buddy and something that idolized her. Someone that would play right by her and not go too far from her!

Each day I let the kids go out back and play, and we would set the chick out there as well, while they were playing. They always had instructions to watch out for the bird, so they would not step on it, and to be soft with it since it was so small. As most mothers do, I have very many responsibilities that call me indoors, and so I would go in the house and leave the back door open, checking on the kids every so often. I had just taken these pictures above of Dacie and C.G when I went in and then I heard the boys fighting over the chick. I usually take a more passive approach to fighting, to allow them to work it out on their own. I thought to myself, " I should just go take the chick away so they will not fight over her". A few minutes later Colton comes in carrying little C.G and she is dying!!!! She was laying down, eyes closed, and shallow breathing. I started screaming-what happened?!! and then started sobbing as I held the poor little thing in my hands. The boys told me that Ryland had decided that it would be fun to send C.G down the slide--which she fared well doing, AND then he decided to throw it up in the air and let it land on the ground. After the second time of doing that to her, she stopped moving...and I guess he did it again for good measure. The fighting had been Colton trying to take away the chick from the BRUTAL BOY ....MY SON!!!! I was sick to my stomach. If only...why.... From what I can gather little Ryland had NO IDEA that he was really hurting the chick. For all I know he thought it could fly, or bounce like a ball...I don't know. I just sat there on the floor sobbing holding the chick, while all the boys started crying as well. We then took her back to the garage and put her under the heat lamp on a soft towel, and said a heartfelt prayer. I prayed that her pain would be minimal and that she would be taken quickly, if that was to happen AND that if she was suppose to get better or had a chance of getting better she would show some improvement, so we would not make her suffer. Dan tried to tell me to kill her when I got him on the phone. I just couldn't! But every time I went in and looked at her it just made my heart so sad. Dan got home and offered to relieve her. I just couldn't do that either, thinking she might be 'stunned' and return to normal if we let her rest. Dan told me he would not make the decision but I was making her suffer, and he was willing to do it when I was ready. I told him after dinner if nothing had changed he could. Then I said a little prayer in my heart that she would die on her own, so I would NOT have to make that decision. Right after dinner we went in and she had passed away.

The boys all went in to see her after and Colton kept getting choked up. Sterling was distracted most the time and was indifferent. Ryland went in and out of caring, crying and NOT really understanding. However, I can say that we were all teary and felt the spirit as we said a little prayer in the garage. I believe my boys realized at that moment that we could pray to Heavenly Father for anything AND that life has value, even the smallest of creatures. Sterling simply said, "Oh its OK, he is going to live again." He was absolutely right, and it really was that simple. We had just had an FHE lesson on Monday about resurrection and how death is not final for any of us. They were just applying what we had taught them.

(The boys digging the grave for our little friend)
The next day we waited for Colton to get home from school and we decorated a box, with our apologies written on the outside of it, then painted a rock for the headstone. We took C.G down to the river where there is a pet cemetery nearby, and buried her under the most beautiful tree.

(notice the little purple flower they left on her headstone too)

Some friends who looked at my pictures asked why I took so many by the cemetery and I did because it was such a BEAUTIFUL day and place. I LOVE that we live close to the river. Sometimes people see pictures and ask if that is Arizona. I'm not gonna lie...it is pretty here and makes the West allot more do-able for my East coast green desires.It made such an emotional thing for me more peaceful becuase of where we were.

(If you look closely you can see her little rock under the tree that shoots out leaning to the right)

I think one of the reasons I was so sad was because C.G loved us, and her care was absolutely in our hands...kind of like a baby. We abused that, and she got really hurt.

I have lost family and friends MUCH MORE dear and they have had MUCH more of an impact on my life. I know some of you may be laughing at the drama I made this into. BUT I feel it needed to be a big deal for my children to see the finality of death and reality of the value of God's creations, as well as responsibility and prayer. These teaching moments are few and I had to capitalize on it! I cannot think of a better time of the year to learn this lesson-

My heart is so heavy for anyone who has ever had to watch much more than a chick suffer in death.

And now I am thinking about getting some more chicks (after all... we have learned the HARD way, have the equipment AND I want to be able to have eggs in time of need and because I hear they taste and are better) We'll see, be still my heart (dogs, cats ,skunks and RYLAND's)!

*The 'chick killers' birthday tribute will fittingly be posted tomorrow!


TexasTwinsTwice said...

that is so sweet you guys did a little ceremony/grave for the little guy. Cute name too! I'm sure poor Ryland had no idea he was hurting the chick. He's much too sweet for that! We had chickens growing up--just make sure you don't have any coyotes near you either!

RC Henderson, Inc. said...

oh that's too sad! I know it's just a small animal but still you become so bonded to it. Poor kids, they are probably traumatized for life.

Dawn said...

lessons learned by all...sometimes we all have to learn the hard way...but it also seems to make a bigger impression on us when we learn that way! Please be sure you want more before you get them...you are such a good mommy!!! and have a tender heart for everyone and everything...(with the exception of maybe Mr Stinky!) Love you!

Princess Muhmah and The Clan: said...

It is hard to lose animals! Each time we lose one, Dallin wants to help Mark dig the grave, and then he wants to say a prayer at the grave as he says good-bye.

We just lost two chicks last week. Dallin was heart broken.

Just keep in mind that chicks havea really, really high mortality rate. Buy more than you want to end up with...and don't name them until they are past the chick stage. Also, don't move them outdoors, regardless of the season, until they are past the chick stage. The ones that we've kept inside, with a heat lamp, until they are tweens have done fine.