Yesterday we locked our rescue dog, Patchy, on her chain (a wire run) and went to the grocery store for less than 1 hour. It was the 3rd time we’d chained her up in the 2 weeks since we brought her home, each time less than 1 hour. Each time hoping she would get used to being confined. Each time coming home to find her having escaped in a different way. She also managed to get out of our fenced property (you don’t really fence 18 acres in a true dog-proof fence) several times, 3 times right in front of us. She just hasn’t made progress on becoming a farm dog.

That was a problem but something we were willing to work on. Maybe in a few months she would have stopped escaping or would have come straight home when we shouted for her. Maybe. But yesterday things changed.

Yesterday when we got home from the grocery store, Patchy was in the chicken run with 3 dead chickens. It was a horror beyond belief. Frank and I loved those 3 sweet girls. We buried them and talked about it and slept on it and this morning we took Patchy back to the animal shelter. She just isn’t right for this land. Everyone in this area has chickens – I’d never forgive myself if she killed other people’s dear animals.

The animal shelter said she’d be easily re-homed. I hope so. I wish her the best. She is a sweet dog, just unruly and a killer. She would suit a suburban home with a sturdy back fence and a dog or some kids to romp with. I gave the shelter all the information about her strengths and weaknesses and they remained confident in her being adopted. They gave me her impounding number and told me to phone at any time to see how she’s doing. They are nice people and she was relaxed and interested in the dog in the next kennel when we walked away. She didn’t look sad or distressed at all. Maybe she knows we weren’t a good fit.

The chickens get no such second chance. They are gone.  Both Frank and I are traumatised and don’t have the heart to get more chooks, at least not for the foreseeable future. Our lives are less full due to the lack of Bronwyn, Isabel and Rosie. They had their faults, were naughty and free-spirits, but they were adorable, affectionate pets and we loved them. May they rest in peace.

Yesterday morning we had a dog, a cat and 3 chickens. This morning we have 1 cat. What a sad, sad change.

I’m going to stop blogging now. Maybe forever. The truth is that this blog started out small, helping me learn about my own garden. It grew into so much more and introduced me to so many great fellow bloggers when I got those dear chickens. I just don’t have it in me to continue.

If I change my mind, I’ll just start up. Until then, I wish you all the best and I’ll keep watching you.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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26 Responses to THE END

  1. cohutt says:

    I’m sorry, this is just nauseating.
    I’ll miss your posts and hope you both heal and perhaps reconsider one day when the time is right.

  2. Karen Rittenhouse says:

    Don’t stop writing. You are an amazing writer.

    And others need your inspiration. Others have faced similar horrors. How you come through yours will be an example and comfort.

    There are no words to express the depths of this loss and I am so, so sorry. Please don’t stop writing.

    Love and prayers to you and Frank,


  3. I have tears in my eyes. I am so sad for you and the girls. I understand if you stop blogging but we will miss you terribly and of course my favourite chook (apart from mine), Bronwyn. I actually can’t believe it as I was reading.
    We will leave you to grieve. Hugs to you.

    • I know I said I wouldn’t make individual comments, but I had to respond to your mention of Bronwyn. When I read this, I cried and laughed. I had to explain to my husband about how every time Bronwyn did something silly and I blogged about it, you would say something like, “of course that was Bronwyn”. I love that you noticed that one of my girls was even more of an individual! I’ll keep reading about your girls (and King George too) to get my cute chicken fix. Thank you for everything.

  4. Peace and prayers. Very sad life lessons.

  5. pattigail says:

    Oh Laura I am SO SO SORRY! What an awful thing! I read it three times, waiting for the happy ending….oh I so wish there was one. I am just in shock. I know you will miss those sweet girls, but I hope in awhile you find room in your heart for a few more. Though it won’t be the same. I will miss your blogs….and hope you will find a way to start again eventually. My thoughts are with you. Take good care, Patti

  6. Glenn says:

    I hope you find it in you to continue blogging in the future. It helps me keep up to date on how you are doing and what is going on in your lives and often a picture is worth a thousand words. I figured you would have some growing pains with Patchy but not the horror of losing your chooks. My special prayers are with you.

  7. I am so sorry for your sad loss. I loved your chickens too. They were the ones I’d like to keep but can’t. The people at the shelter seem so nice. I’d really miss hearing about your adventures at the other side of the world but I think you may need some time to heal a lot of raw feelings but things will get better.

  8. LuckyRobin says:

    I am so sorry. I remember when when we lost our ducks. It about broke my heart. It is a hard blow, but each day will get a little easier until you will just remember the happiness they brought to your life and not the horror of finding them that way. I do hope you blog again and do consider that writing might help the healing process.

  9. Emily Heath says:

    What an awful thing to come home to, so sad. Thank you for all your past posts, your photos and stories were always entertaining and interesting.

  10. vuchickens says:

    I’m so incredibly sorry for you, and terribly sad about the loss of your sweet girls. 😦 Take all the time you need to grieve and heal… you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. I am really very sorry – that’s heart breaking – what dreadful news. About 3 years ago, I lost all my chickens to a fox, including Cuddles the cockerel, who I had raised by hand – it was devastating. A year later though, we bought 4 new hens and I’m so glad we did – they are just fabulous to have around.
    I will miss your blogging and comments – and hope that you do come back.

  12. What cruel, world-crumbling damage a pup can innocently wreak, to the chooks and to your hearts. We shall miss your words but you must do what is best for yourself. If that is silence then we shall just wait and hope it will one day be blogging.

  13. Oh no. How terrible! I am so sorry for your loss. I will very much miss reading your blog and hope that someday, as you heal, you will find your way back to blogging. I love reading about your bees and all the clearing work you have done on the new place. Not to mention all the birds that you have there that are so interesting and different than the birds we have here. I hope it can be more of a “to be continued…” not, the end.

  14. hobacaitbe says:

    Hugs, we will miss you. I was told that the chickens would take over my life, I didn’t believe it. I can not imagine your loss.

  15. Oh I am sorry to hear about your chickens. Last year next door’s dog got in and killed one of ours and that was bad enough. But don’t give up on blogging. I love to hear about your life the other side of the world, you are one of my most watched blogs. Please don’t give up and do get some more chooks, they will be different characters but they too will bring you joy!!

  16. Oh I am soooo sorry, those chooks were friends. Oh I cannot imagine how you felt, and think you have done the right thing in returning the dog for a second chance at a new home. I really don’t like your other choice to stop blogging. Maybe we will allow you to take a little break, but please come back! I was so looking forward to following along on your new adventure at the farm.

  17. Thank you all for your touching comments. They brought tears to my eyes, but good tears. I’ve been reading them as they come in but I just haven’t been able to sit down and answer. I think you each deserve an individual response, unfortunately it would rip me apart to do that so I hope you accept this joint thanks.

    I am sure that with time it will get better. I’m already less nauseous, though that constant knot in my stomach hasn’t gone away. Dawn and dusk are the worst times, when we’d be going down to the run to open or close the coop door. We’re also struggling as we eat through the last dozen eggs those beautiful girls laid for us. We even have some cheesecake left that we made the day before our chickens died. We want to honour them and enjoy every sweet bite – but there’s a bit of bitter in there.

    We try to remember the good things about our chooks and not beat ourselves up too much about our hand in their death, but it’s hard.

    As for blogging, if I do return to it it will be because of all of you. I didn’t come to blogging with the goal of connecting to so many wonderful people – that came as a total surprise – but what a wonderful surprise. I’m glad I can stay connected via your blogs and, who knows, maybe one day mine again.

    The truth is, blogging has been a great, if distracting, outlet for my writing urge. It’s been ages since I did any work on my books and that’s been fine. But maybe now it’s time to go back to working on my books and short stories. Only time will tell. Time to heal and adjust to this new, emptier life.

    Again, thank you for your emails and comments here – you’re the best!

  18. I’m so sorry about the chooks, Laura, that must be just SO so awful 😦
    I really hope you do keep blogging, though I understand the distraction it is from other writing!

  19. So sorry not to hear from you again. But best of luck!

  20. shirehouse says:

    I hope you come back to blogging, We lost our Bronwyn to a prolapsed uterus this spring. There are some worthy future chooks out there just waiting to make your life bright again!

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