Billy is now as deaf as a post and I'm teaching him sign language. Silly dog could have pretended not to understand what I meant when I pointed to the laundry (the place Billy has to go when he's in trouble), but I suppose a combination of the look on my face, hinting that I wouldn't put up with any gaff from an oversized dog and the fact that he felt so guilty, he immediately slunk off laundryward as soon as I pointed to it. He sits there now, brooding on the unfairness of a world where new, fluffy roosters are imported into the menagerie and an innocent St Bernard isn't allowed a taste.
Emu, the Chinese Silky rooster has come to take up residence in our chook pen. Emu hails from Camden way where he lived with another rooster and a harem of hens on an acre property owned by friends of my daughter.. Unfortunately Emu likes to greet the morning long before sun up each day and does so at the top of his lungs. Neighbours don't care that Emu is a beautiful fellow and is just doing what nature dictates a rooster do. They, the neighbours complained and kept complaining until it was obvious that Emu had to go. Luckily for Emu I was up at Camden the weekend a home needed to be found for him. I was attending my grandsons' birthday party, minding my own business, when without quite realising how it happened I became the proud owner of Emu.
I gently broke the news to Graeme while still at the party. I used to wait for a quiet moment to inform Graeme of any additions to our animal population, but lately I've discovered that confessing in public isn't only good for the soul, Graeme is usually too preoccupied with whatever conversation he is having to really register a protest - or maybe he has finally realised the futility of protesting - whichever the reason, Graeme barely raised a murmur before returning to his conversation about cars and their respective tyres.
So, Emu was transported to Spring Rock and set up home in the chook pen. At first there were the usual sorting out of pecking orders to endure. Emu spent the first week in a makeshift small yard within the larger yard, where Adonis, the resident rooster, and the girls could meet him without getting physical. Emu was used to be the second rooster in the yard so he had no aspirations to move up in the pecking order. After he was released to join the gang, he settled in quickly at the very bottom of the pecking order resigned himself to a boring life being bossed by rooster and hens alike.
Billy had noted Emu's arrival almost as soon as he was released. Billy at first spent every waking hour with his nose pressed against the chook wire, trying to figure out what exactly had come to stay. Billy pays no attention what so ever to the rest of the chooks in the yard. Common old laying hens and accompanying rooster hold no interest for him. Emu on the other hand, looked to good to ignore. Emu didn't help the situation either. One could say he actually encourages Billy to visit daily. While Billy sat staring at the fluffy one, Emu from his little yard, glanced back and wondered what Billy was, I'm sure. The day Emu was set free to roam the entire chook pen was a red letter day for both of them. Billy could hardly contain his excitement. Now he'd get to see exactly what this fluffy thing was and hopefully manage a taste or two while he was at it. Emu seemed eager to help out with these aspirations.
The day Billy began to learn sign language came about because I found him settled in for the day, stretched out at his ease along the outside of the chook pen, eyeing Emu longingly. Billy was staring at Emu with evil intent obvious in every fibre of his being. He was employing his never take your eyes off the target and don't blink stare. Emu, on the other side of the wire was thrilled. You see Emu thinks he's made a new friend. He was sitting on the safe side of the wire, just a few inches away from it in fact, looking back at Billy and clucking quietly to himself (or maybe to Billy, who knows). He looked like he too had settled in for a long and delightful day conversing with a new friend.
Emu firmly believes in the noble side of Billy and would be shocked if he could read Billy's mind. Billy has no noble thoughts where Emu is concerned I'm sure, so Billy was banished to the laundry to think about his sins and adjust his attitude to little fluffy members of the family. Each day Billy can still be found sitting outside the chook pen, drooling over the chicken dinner on the other side of the wire while Emu rushes up to the wire to get close enough to commune with Billy. They sit and stare at each other for ages until I make the hike all the way to the chook pen and angrily point to the laundry. I'm worried that Emu will be tempted to poke his little head through the wire to chat more easily with Billy and Billy will just chomp it off!
It would be such a sad ending to a beautiful friendship.