So Andy texted me from work this morning. He said,'Someone has just brought in a stray chicken. I have said we can't have it. I am about to text you a photo.'
And thusly responded I: 'I wish you wouldn't tell me there is a stray chicken but we can't have her and then make it worse by sending me a picture.' Because when these things happen it takes my mind approximately 3 seconds to decide to call the stray hen Myrtle and wonder if I have a spare cardboard box to use as temporary sleeping accommodation whilst she is introduced to Primrose and Daisy hopefully without getting her head pecked in.
Occasionally we end up with strays brought into the surgery. All our cats were abandoned strays - Phoebe as a two year old mummy cat, Tybalt and Flora both as kittens. I am a sucker for a stray and would give all them a home because I make spontaneous decisions about this kind of thing. Sometimes, you see, I am capable of making spontaneous decisions. Other times I am not. I am a very unreliable decision maker and it constantly amazes me that so many people rely on me to make decisions for them and accept the consequences without the bat of an eyelid.
Collecting stray animals is the sharp end of the slippery slope to becoming a crazy old cat lady. Perhaps Andy recognises this latent trait in me and is saving me from myself. Actually, a lizard was brought in a couple of weeks ago. I wouldn't have adopted a lizard. I am not overly impressed by lizards. They are the reptile equivalent of cacti to me. I like plants, but not cacti. I like animals but not lizards.
A couple of months ago a whole litter of shih-tzu puppies were brought in. Imagine that! A whole basket full of puppies! Six, I seem to remember, although that could be me getting over-excited at the thought of a houseful of fluffy puppies and exaggerating the amount in my mind. They weren't old enough to be away from their mother, so they were taken home and hand reared by one of Andy's colleagues and she very quickly found homes for all of them.
I need to be sensible about these things, of course, because really we do not have space for any more waifs. The cats tolerate each in the house because we have many litter trays and two of the cats believe they are human, and the garden is just about tolerating the misguided gardening habits of two hens. And that is enough.
But if I had a field and a shed - well, it would be full to the brim quicker than you could say 'Noah's Ark.' And within a short space of time I would be dressing in hobnail boots and floppy cardigans and throwing cat litter at the Prime Minister in an one-woman protest for better rights for cats. (And just in case the new snooping on our emails, Internet presence and mobile phone conversations Bill has been passed in Parliament and someone is reading this now thinking I might be a potential risk to national security, then all I can say is, 'It was a joke, you MORON, and good luck accessing my mobile phone messages because I am blowed if I can.)
Myrtle has been whisked away by a chap to go and live with some other hens. She laid an egg before she left the surgery. She would have been a great hen for us to adopt.