When you share your life with an animal you begin to understand them. Barney crowed at strangers before the dogs barked. He kept a good watch out for his flock. He could always be seen leading the way across the lawn or back to the coop with the setting sun.
When his flagship crow began to diminish I knew something was wrong. In spite of my husband's misgivings, I brought him to the vet and then we began to give Barney a daily dosage of antibiotics. At first he seemed to come back a bit but alas, it wasn't to be. I watched him slow and soon I knew it would be any day.
I thought of bringing him into the house - in a box, on a towel, warm and cozy but I knew if and when it was my time to go, there would be no where else I'd rather be than in my own house. So that's where Barney stayed, in his coop, and that's where he passed.
When I picked him up to place him in the box that I would bury him in, I cried. And it may sound silly, and he may only be a chicken, but in my lifetime I saw him live the way chickens and roosters are meant to be - grazing on grass, ruling a flock, crowing at the morning sun.
So maybe my tears aren't so much for Barney, who had a beautiful life, perhaps they are for all the many roosters and chickens that never will.