Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Things to do in Normandy when You're a Dog

Since I've been doing chicken-themed posts, I'll share another poultry story. Then maybe I'll stop for awhile.
A few years ago, during a long-term stay in Paris, we got the mid-winter blues decided that a little fresh sea air would be just the thing to cure the general grumpiness, so we went for a weekend in Normandy. We stayed at a 13th century fortified farm in the countryside near Bayeux called Ferme de la Rançonnière.  It’s near the towns of Bayeux (home of the Bayeux Tapestry) and Arromanches (Gold Beach from the D-Day landings), if you fancy a little touristing.
Pooka, our dog, was perhaps the most grateful member of the party at la Rançonnière. He disliked apartment life, and it had been more than a month since he'd been able to run off lead.   
La Rançonnière, besides being charming and possessing a lovely restaurant, also has a large fenced yard in back of the main hall with a little chicken house in the center. 

This is the chicken house
When we got in Friday afternoon, we took Pooka out in the yard so he could run. We failed, however, to notice that the fence around the chicken house was open on 2 sides. Pooka, extremely happy to be off leash and on grass, found some mole trails and spent a pleasant 15 minutes exploring them. 
Oh look! There's another one over there!
One of the trails took him quite near the chicken house, and, having never met a chicken before, he trotted over to investigate.
Consternation among the birds! Squawking, flapping, and random heedless galloping. And because they’re chickens, and thus dumber than a cubic yard of gravel, they ran not into the relative safety of the chicken house, but out into the yard.
How could a dog resist that? Pooka went after the chickens, who were shouting, "Help! Help! Murder! Barbarians!" I went after Pooka, shouting, "No! Leave it!"
We zigged and zagged across the lawn, squawking and shouting, and finally, the dog who can't catch a squirrel or rabbit (much to my disappointment) got him a mouthful of chicken. I had a panicked vision of myself presenting a bloody chicken carcass to the owners with my deepest apologies and a wad of euros, followed by a quick, inglorious retreat to a different hotel entirely (preferably chickenless).
Thank goodness Pooka's Killer Instinct wiring is faulty. He neglected to catch the hen by the neck, opting instead for a wing grab. A bit of poultry yelling, some flapping, some flopping, and Pooka was left with only a mouthful of feathers, while the hen escaped with her life, if not her dignity, and faded into a nearby hedge.
K watched the whole show with a great deal of merriment. And of course after that, Pooka was always leashed and kept at a distance from the chickens. 
They still shouted, "Help, help! Huns! Visigoths! Murder!" and ran around like...well, you know...when they saw him.

1 comment:

  1. This post was hilarious! I was glad the chicken escaped with his life. :)