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Published February 25, 2010, 09:34 AM

Dog, chicken share unlikely bond

FARWELL, Minn. – There’s a chicken in Farwell that is barking up the wrong tree. She’s madly in love with a dog.

By: Jo Colvin, Forum Communications

FARWELL, Minn. – There’s a chicken in Farwell that is barking up the wrong tree.

She’s madly in love with a dog.

It’s a devoted love rarely seen in the animal kingdom, especially between two different species. Because of it, the chicken is now in the doghouse.

Every night.

On a chilly evening in November, Wayne and Lorna Anderson, avid bird watchers, observed as a confused chicken flew into their yard and landed in a pine tree. The couple thought it was odd, as none of their neighbors within a two-mile radius were chicken owners.

“That’s where she hung out, up in them pine trees,” Wayne said.

Soon the errant fowl grew tired of scratchy branches and made herself a new home in the retired couple’s garage. The Andersons provided a comfortable roosting place for their new tenant, whom they dubbed “Chicky.” They even cut a hole in the garage door to accommodate her every roosting whim.

But the garage paled in comparison to what was to come.

As Chicky clucked her way around her new surroundings, she came across Sam, the Andersons’ black Lab. And it was love at first peck.

But not only was Sam of the canine persuasion, at 12 years of age, he was a much older man. Would their love take flight, or would their differences doggedly defeat their chances at living happily ever after?

Chicky immediately moved out of the garage and waddled not only into Sam’s heart, but his home – a palace fit for a pampered pullet.

“She said nuts to this sleeping alone,” Lorna said. “The first time I walked by that doghouse and saw her sleeping with him, I couldn’t believe it.”

She’s been there ever since.

The Andersons began to suspect that Chicky was just a grain-digger looking for an easy meal ticket and a warm house.

“She knows a good thing when she sees it,” Lorna surmised.

But Sam doesn’t seem to mind. A hunting dog by nature, he defied his natural instinct and instead of eating the bird, was enamored by her.

“Five or six years ago, he would have gobbled her up,” Wayne said. “He would have had that chicken before that chicken could fly away.”

Lucky for Chicky, Sam had a change of heart. Dog and fowl soon became inseparable. Chicky follows her geriatric canine wherever he goes. She eats with him, sleeps all night with him in the doghouse, and lies with him in the sun on the deck.

“She’s right behind him just like a shadow,” Lorna said.

Chicky hitches rides on Sam’s back, grooms him and sometimes even scratches his back with her claws.

In return, as Chicky is pecking and grooming her cherished canine, Sam reciprocates the affection with a wet, sloppy lick.

“She just snuggles up to him, like women usually do,” Lorna said, as she snuggled up to Wayne and laughed.

The ill-fitted lovebirds have an unflappable bond, and they are never apart.

“It’s a crazy thing,” said a perplexed Wayne. “I don’t understand it.”

The Andersons’ youngest daughter has a theory. She thinks Chicky is Sam’s angel. An octogenarian in people years, Sam is showing his age. He suffers from arthritis and is moving slowly these days.

“Sam is old and is not going to live long,” Lorna lamented. “It gives him something pleasurable to do in his old age. She is his angel.”