Denali and Isabelle

My dog, Denali, has a bone to pick with you. She heard an ugly rumor that some of you readers think she wants to, ahem, eat the chickens.

Dog and chickens

She can’t fathom where you would get such an idea.

Jolie, the glamour chicken

Yes, she dreamed of chicken nuggets for a spell. And in a moment of weakness she nibbled Jolie in the armpit (wingpit?) a couple weeks ago. But only gently, and look at this chicken. Can you blame her?

The reformed Denali

The astounding truth is Denali is now our much-reformed guardian of the flock. Rather than want to eat the chickens, she appears to want to be a chicken. She samples their feed and dutifully follows them around the yard. She even tolerated when Francoise, the rascal, hitched a ride on her back. Imagine the indignity.

This didn’t happen overnight. After persistent coaching (“Repeat after me: Friends, not food. Denali, listen: Friends, not food.”) and several weeks of carefully orchestrated meet-and-greets, her leash got longer and longer—until it was no longer needed at all.

Saying hello at the coop

Because we still catch that carnivorous glint in her eye every so often—say, when the moon is full—the dog and the chickens stay in separate quarters during the workdays. When we humans are home, though, the menagerie loafs around the backyard together.

At this point I should give credit where it’s due. My husband’s patient trust in our pets is what made this living arrangement possible. Frankly, I think it’s a miracle. My dog hunts bumblebees, for goodness sake.

So sorry folks, no drama to report. We’re just one big, peaceable kingdom over here.

Francoise at the threshold

One big, peaceable, noisy kingdom.