It has been colder than an Iditarod Huskie’s mother’s milk here lately, but we have still been going on walks. We are small, but we are tough.
On Saturday we were taking a constitutional through our sleepy neighborhood when we saw a rafter of wild turkeys chilling in a yard. We barked and raised a fuss. The largest one lifted her head and looked into my eyes. “Are you Pocket?” she asked.
Being a small animal I try to keep away from big birds, but I was also raised to be polite, so I admitted I was Pocket. “You are well known for saving wild animals. The story of how you and Foley rescued a skunk is legendary.” I blushed. That bit of daring-do was Foley’s idea. You can read about it here
“We need help,” the turkey continued. “It is only a few days before Thanksgiving, and we have to hide. If you could let us stay under your house, we would be greatly appreciative.”
“Turkeys under the house!” River barked. “Oh no! I don’t want turkeys under the house! What’s next? Pigeons in the floorboards? Eagles on the skylight? I say no birds in the house.”
“Please Miss River,” the turkey pleaded. “ We don’t want to be Thanksgiving dinner.”
River scoffed. “You’re a game bird. You don’t have tender, juicy meat.”
“My meat is quite tender! You would love to eat me!” the offended bird squawked back.
River waved a paw at the turkey. “Bah! You’re tough meat. I wouldn’t eat you if you were the last turkey in the neighborhood.”
I told my grumpy sister to be kind. “I will let you stay under the house until Friday,” I said. “Then you should be safe.”
“Safe?” River scoffed. “You think people only eat turkey on Thanksgiving? There is Christmas, and New Year’s, and turkey sandwiches. Let me tell you, buddy; you’re a bird with a target on your back.”
“We can fend for ourselves after Thursday,” the turkey promised. I quieted River and then told the turkeys to follow me home. Remarkably, none of our neighbors found it strange that two small dogs were leading a dozen turkeys down the street, but the people are old and probably thought it was a sign they needed to get their prescriptions fixed.
We got them settled under the house by the heater. I asked them to be quiet and promised to drop food down the grates. “No cock a doing!” River said. “I sleep late.”
“I am a turkey!” the bird said. “I do not cock!”
“Well, whatever freaky thing you do keep it to yourself,” River ordered.
We went on the porch, hung up our leashes (we walk one another), and went inside the house. Mommy asked us how the walk was. “For the birds!” River said then rolled on her back laughing. She got a belly rub
For the next six day as the turkeys huddled under the house, Daddy kept swearing he smelled slow grilled turkey breast, and I would drop kibble down the grates so they could eat. I never let on that they were there River, thinking she was funny, would lift her leg to pee where the turkeys were nesting, but luckily River is a girl, and all she would do is tip over.
The turkeys made it through Thanksgiving and on Friday morning they emerged from under the house to live safely for the rest of the year. The head turkey went up the steps to kiss me and thank me. I gratefully accepted. The turkey then saw our bag of food. “Is that what you have been feeding us?” the bird asked.
I told her it was. “That food’s protein is turkey!” she squawked. “You made us cannibals!” She pecked me on the nose and stomped off.
“See you on the Christmas dinner table you feathered freak!” River yelled at her. “You know what turkeys are? Failed chickens!”
I shushed her, but I appreciated her sentiment.
Lesson learned. Never try to save an ungrateful turkey on Thanksgiving.