There once was a chicken named Here's Your One Chance Fancy Don't Let Me Down who lived a quiet life in a small city in the South.
Fancy had suffered many horrors, from watching her first flock get decimated by a nocturnal predator to fighting for her life as a hawk sunk its talons into her hind end and tried to force her through a narrow opening in the fence surrounding her yard. Yes, Fancy knew fear and pain and suffering.
But she also knew healing and sanctuary. Therefore, it was no surprise to anyone when Fancy met J and struck up a fast friendship.
J, a boy whose own family didn't much care for him and whose daily life consisted of struggle and frustration. Fancy didn't care that J flapped his noodle-thin arms like a bird while chasing her through the yard or that his voice came out like a squawk or not at all.
Fancy looked past what everyone else saw: the wide-set eyes, jutting jaw, fused joints, and humped back. The developmental delays and oppositional behavior. The screeching and thrashing when things went wrong. She looked at J and saw: joy, fascination, and perpetual childhood.
And so the two sat face-to-face on a rainy summer day. J stretched his hand out, offering Fancy what he rarely offered anyone else: food, trust, friendship. She lowered her head, accepting and returning the faith he had in her. After she ate, they played one last game of chase before J had to return home.
Never let it be said that loving a chicken is foreign. For people like J, a chicken is more than a dirty bird that mucks around in its own filth. No, that chicken is therapy itself.