Updated: Feb 8, 2022
We all need protecting—even the warriors.
In times of extreme danger, there are those that run toward it and those that run away. That is just the facts. Those that run, will and should never forget the sacrifices of those warriors that risk all to protect the greater good.
This morning, I thought of the Warrior’s Creed as I walked the fields where the battle took place.
I was awakened with a tone in my wife’s voice that I rarely hear nor ever desire to: “Kelly, a coyote got our chicken!”
Throwing on my clothes to head into the cold, snow laden morning, my heart raced. I grabbed my weapon of choice and headed in the direction my wife pointed. As I entered the open field through the grapes and apples trees, I felt my pupils painfully adjust as the morning sun bounced of the white snow.
There he stood. Approximately 50 yards from me, a rugged coyote. Standing broadside, he stared back at me. As I peered at him from behind the steel sights, he traveled in and out of focus. Then, he was gone.
Returning to the scene of the battle, I quickly identifed most of what took place by the tracks left in the snow and the feathers that traveled across the crusted snow in the morning breeze.
I knew by the still in the air that Dotson fell victim.
Dotson, known as Dotty around the farm, did what he was called to do—protect.
We are not sure how this happened as my daughter swears that she checked the latch and the door twice last night. Now, I am no investigator, but I find it hard to believe a random passing coyote could unlatch and open a door without any evidence of a struggle to do so.
Nonetheless, at the end of the day, the "how" matters little compared to the loss of our farm friend, yet a lesson must be learned about awareness.
Dotty was a magnificent Barred Rock Rooster. From his early years, we knew that he took his job serious. As we added hens over the past two years, he took them in as his own. His majestic crow filled the neighborhood . . . all . . . day . . . long.
Not to be cliché, but we will miss his crow. We will also miss his protective nature as he strolled around the farm keeping an eye on all his 26 hens. His head was always on a swivel. He was a true warrior. What is next for the farm? Who will protect the flock? There is only one that can fill the hearts of the Kiki & Co. Family Farm and protect all that lives here: The Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog.
Our family has been wanting one for some time, but I have denied their dreams. My reasons? I often explained to my wife and kids that dogs poop, bark, and bite. However, the real reason is held captive in a broken heart.
It has been many years, even before our children arrived, but having to put my dog down after 13 years of being my best friend has left me with regret and sadness. Jake, a 120 pound Blue Tick Hound and Dalmatian mix, went everywhere with me. Dawn bought him for me when I was 21 and stationed at the Coast Guard Air Station North Bend. Jake grew quickly, demanding my attention, which I gave.
It is, however, the last 48 hours of Jake’s life that truly has prevented me from trying again. It's the memory of his head and soft ears as they rested in my lap while he faded away in the vet clinic that has plagues me. The fact that he never doubted my love or my trust made us the best of friends.
Well, as the old Chinese proverb goes, “Enjoy yourself; it's later than you think.” With my son at 14 and my daughter at 18, it is time. It's time for a dog to poop, bark and, if needed, bite at the Kiki farm.
Sir Dotson, thank you for your warrior presence for the past couple years. Thank you for making sure our hens—your hens—were protected this morning as we all know it could have been much worse.
Cold mornings like this are honest reminders of how important it is to be aware and grateful for those in our life that care for us. It is true that the more we have the more we will one day lose, and that is ok. The gift of sharing one's heart with others should not be regretted nor second guessed.
To those that have roosters but want to get rid of them due to their excessive noise and need to chase little kids down, remember that they have a job and a purpose on your homestead—and they are darn good at it.
Rest my friend.