He was the last in his cage to be removed. Although he was the first we went to.
Seeking refuge from the claws that came from above, he ducked under the larger bodies of his buddies. Our hands withdrew as he did, and we took a closer quarry. Expediency was our mission, not selectivity. And no one was going to be left behind.
And each time we removed another dear rooster, we inched closer to knowing the sweet little white lad we have named Goodfellow.
Goodfellow, because quite simply he is.
A dear little whitest of white roosters. Iridescently so, a true reflection of his innocence. The only mar on this, the human-made circumstance into which he and his companions had been trapped.
And while the fervour with which he sought to defend his weak and malnourished body in the face of such a formidable foe hit the pit of our stomach, so too did the sight of his crippled and withered left leg.
A birth defect we would find it to be, and not a broken limb as our initial thoughts suggested.
Historically, to describe a person as a chicken has been considered a derogatory expression, however, clearly its use in this vein comes without ever having met one.
Goodfellow is a most stellar example of this.
For although one overzealous squeeze of our hand would have easily wrung the life out of him, he was undaunted by this. So determined was he to squawk and wriggle with all of his feeble might and do everything in his one-legged power to defend his bodily integrity.
However, little did he know, so would we – in our two-legged one.
A more courageous being one would struggle to find. Nor a gentler one.
For once nestled into the arms of his rescuer, it was as if a knowing he had been saved became him and Goodfellow softened.
And in doing so he reminds us to as well.
To soften our hearts to the vulnerable and meek. For they are considered powerless in so many ways, and alas our kind often chooses to exploit and profit from this in a kaleidoscope of unkind and inhumane ways.
This too is their super-power.
And it enables us to unleash ours.
Our kindness, our tender mercy, our compassion, our sense of justice and desire to protect them from harm, and moreover, our ability to right the wrongs of those who have gone before us.
Those who have either through ill-intent or ignorance caused harm to the gentle beings with whom we share this magical planet.
Goodfellow is indeed a good fellow.
Watching him just now with his forever buddies, Minnesota and Chaplin, is cathartic, inspirational and heartbreaking, all at the one time. To see them all on soil for the first time in their once-impoverished lives is a beauty words cannot describe.
Goodfellow looks our way, then to the grass around him. It is as foreign to him as our kindness. He inhales deep. Our empathy sees us do likewise. He belts out the most glorious of ballads, one of hope fulfilled, and we do likewise.
But for us it is our hearts that sing.
Diminutive in size, yet gargantuan in impact, is Goodfellow.
And he calls to us to be one as well.
After a night so long it almost forgot to end, we caught some sleep, grabbed a snack and headed on our well-worn track to the barn.
There was no doubt that Berlin’s world was crumbling the day he and his three buddies were surrendered into our care.
With a haunting sadness in their eyes, Gracelyn and Elvira entered our world. And we theirs, as they searched their newfound digs for somewhere to land their gaze.
Lost in a world far, far bigger than himself was little Bahama. But then kindness found him.
Little Kokomo may have been down on his luck the day he was born, finding himself way down in a pile of mirky mud.
Words could not convey our shock when we went to our carpark to collect the little lamb we would soon name Bermuda, who was surrendered into our care after having been found the day before.
More than likely destined for backyard slaughter, the young Cedric ran for his life. And did so for several days in the off-leash dog park to which he had retreated.
Friend or freezer? Without even meeting the colourful chap we have named Tom Cruise, we knew the only role he should ever fill was the first.
At just one day old, teeny tiny Trapper John was diminutive in size yet formidable in impact, and everybody was talking about him.