Funny Romance Sad

Feathers and Fur

This is a tale,

Of forbidden love,

Condemned by all creatures,

And doomed from above.

Noah understood. It wasn’t just man that should not be alone. All of God’s creatures crave companionship. Life is constructed in pairs.

The farm was a veritable smorgasbord of livestock- cows, horses, pigs, and chickens. A small army of cats patrolled the area in search of rats, mice, ground squirrels, and other undesirable forms of life. Farmer John and his wife Betsy lived in the big old house up near the road. The only lonely soul was Monty, the barnyard dog.

Lonely days and lonely nights. Occasional trips to the small pond to trim off some of the effects of the summer sun. Chase a cat, bark at a squirrel, take a nap, wait to be fed. Groundhog day for Monty. Alone.

Star-crossed lovers. Romeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria. Custom and convention could not keep them apart. Monty’s excursion into the world of romance would pose an even greater test.

Push or pull? Drawn by her beauty or driven by the pain of loneliness? Perhaps both. Monty had seen her around the yard, but never before in the soft glow of the setting sun. It was done in an instant, his heart a captive of the golden-brown image before him. Dare he approach?

Oh my God, Monty, she’s looking at you. Was there a hint of a smile? Both quickly averted their eyes, only to look again, and again, and again.

Monty couldn’t sleep that night, nor the next. He struggled with it. He knew he could muster up the courage to speak to her, but he feared the reaction of all the other farm animals. There would be talk, uncomfortable stares, gossip, teasing, ridicule. Follow your heart, Monty, follow your heart.

Monty: “Good morning. Looks like it will be a nice day. It’s Melinda, isn’t it?”

The hint of a smile quickly became an unabashed grin.

Melinda: “Yes, and I believe your name is Monty.”

Monty’s heart fluttered at the sound of her sweet voice uttering his name. He froze.

Melinda: “Are you ok?”

Monty: “Oh, yes, I’m fine. I’m just…just captivated by your beauty.”

Oh my God, Monty! Do you think you could maybe slow down a bit? No, Monty’s mouth was under the full control of his heart.

Melinda’s face turned pink, then red, and then bright, blazing red. With a fluttering of her eyes and her come-hither smile, Monty’s confidence soared.

Monty: “Melinda, I want to ask you something.”

Melinda: “What is it, Monty?”

Monty: “Well, would it be ok if I came courting you.?”

Oh my God, Monty! Courting her?! What century do you think this is?

Melinda: “I’m flattered, Monty, but I don’t know if that would be such a good idea.”

Monty:” What makes you say that?”

Melinda: “Well, Monty, we’re just too different.”

Monty: “What do you mean?”

Melinda: “Well, for starters you have fur, and I have feathers. That’s a pretty big difference right there.”

Monty: “Feathers, fur. I don’t think that’s such a big deal.”

Melinda: “And, Monty, you have four feet. I have two feet and two wings. You don’t have wings, Monty.”

Monty: “I don’t see any deal breaker there.”

And so it went. Monty, the romantic optimist, Melinda the pessimistic realist. After pointing out a litany of the differences, Melinda cut to the chase.

Melinda: “Monty…you are a dog, a very large dog, and I am a chicken.”

Monty: “So?”

Melinda: "So?! Monty, that is a really big deal! Dogs and chickens don’t, shall we say, get involved with one another. All the other farm animals will talk. They will laugh at us, Monty.”

Monty: “It matters not to me, for truly I am smitten.”

Smitten?! Oh my God, Monty! Courting? Smitten? I don’t believe this.

 Monty: “Do you have feelings for me, Melinda?”

The moment of hesitation said it all.

Melinda: “Perhaps.”

Monty: “Then we shall be together. The opinions of others will be of no concern.”

Many of the things Monty had done before, he was doing again, but he was not alone. They made a cute couple, walking along the shoreline of the pond, resting in the shade under the big oak tree, or sneaking away behind the barn for a little time to themselves. From sunrise to sundown, Monty and Melinda were inseparable, cloaked in the warmth of each other’s company.

It might appear to the casual observer that a dog and a chicken are quite different from one another. But beneath those furry, feathery surfaces, Monty and Melinda had much in common. As our parents all told us, it’s what’s inside that counts.

They both enjoyed kicking small stones into the pond, sneaking up on a sleeping pig and scaring the bejesus out of him, bird watching, imagining figures in the clouds, studying the constellations, contemplating the origins of the universe, pondering the meaning of life, and most of all just relaxing in the warm sun knowing your loved one is near. Monty had found his soul mate.

But the snickering and derisive comments grew more frequent with every passing day.

Harry the Horse: “Hey, Monty, birds of a feather flock together!”

Daisy the Cow: “Hey, Monty, I heard Farmer John say they’re having fried chicken for dinner tonight!”

Percy the Pig: “Uh, Monty, just exactly how do you guys…you know, do it?

Harry the Horse: “Oh, I know. He must have a really little wiener!”

Monty could take it. Melinda was wavering.

Melinda: “Monty, dear, maybe they’re right. I’m having a hard time with this. The henhouse is full of mean girls. You wouldn’t believe the things they say, mean things, Monty, disgusting things. Maybe a dog shouldn’t be with a chicken. Maybe we should stick to our own kind.”

It hit Monty like a tsunami, the foundation of new his life washed away in a moment. He looked into Melinda’s eyes and could feel her pain. A dog and a chicken? He realized it wasn’t meant to be. He would not protest as his love for Melinda came ahead of his own happiness. Separation from the love of his life would hurt him deeply, but not as much as seeing Melinda suffer the cruel consequences of their unusual relationship.

Loneliness descended, not in a flood, but as a slow-moving mass of molasses that enveloped his mind, his heart, his soul. There were no trips to the pond, no scaring pigs, no moments of simple contentment sitting in the sun, only long, lonely days. Even mealtime brought no relief for poor Monty.

He didn’t know what was worse, seeing Melinda through the painful lens of distance, or not seeing her at all. Monty tried to move on, but his eyes, and his aching heart, were needles on a compass drawn to his North Star.

Monty now strolled through the barnyard alone, but the hurtful comments persisted.

Percy the Pig: “Hey, Monty, I hear your chick dumped you. What was the problem? You couldn’t satisfy her with your little wiener? Ha, ha, ha.”

Harry the Horse: “Hey, Monty, I hear there are some hot ground squirrels looking for a guy. And one toad down at the pond. Ha, ha, ha.”

Sleep was elusive, a precious commodity for the deeply troubled. Every night, shortly after sundown, Monty would lie down on a small hill overlooking the henhouse. He found some comfort in being close to his dear, sweet Melinda.

And then the fateful night. Monty again couldn’t sleep. His eyes were focused on the henhouse below as recalled all the wonderful moments he spent with Melinda. He was so absorbed in memories that he almost didn’t notice. Two silhouettes in the glow of a full moon, stealthily moving toward the henhouse. Wolves. Melinda!

Monty sprang to his feet and sounded the alarm. His eyes darted back and forth from the wolves to the farmhouse. A light went on in the window of the upstairs bedroom. Monty knew the routine. Farmer John would soon be racing out of the house with his shotgun.

One of the wolves entered the henhouse, and a thunderous chorus of cackles and squawks erupted. A dozen chickens flew out the door, and Monty was relieved to see Melinda was amongst them. But the wolves gave chase, and one was bearing down on his dear, sweet Melinda.

It was sheer instinct, done without hesitation or thought, the act of a parent protecting a child. Monty ran to the chaos without regard for his own life. Melinda, Melinda, Melinda. He must save Melinda.

Monty threw himself into the fray. He charged into the wolf and knocked him to the ground. Snarling teeth flashed at Monty, and the fight was on. Soon Monty was battling two wolves. He gave a good account, but he was no match. The pain in his neck was intense. A couple of shotgun blasts, and the wolves were gone. The chickens were saved, but it was too late for Monty. He struggled to his feet, took a few steps, and then collapsed into the dirt.

Monty raised his head slightly, hoping for one last look at his beloved Melinda. Blood blurred his vision, but there she was, rushing toward him, shaking and in tears. She placed a claw on Monty’s front paw and gave him a peck on the forehead. Monty breathed his last, and relaxed into a deep, peaceful, eternal sleep, knowing that Melinda, his dear, sweet Melinda, was safe and sound.

February 01, 2023 18:36

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Wendy Kaminski
21:34 Feb 04, 2023

Heart-warming, Murray, though bittersweet. I like your concept and the execution, too! Now I can add "hoped the chicken kissed the dog before it died" to my list of quirks. :)


Murray Burns
18:35 Feb 06, 2023

The real-life inspiration- We had a black lab, a little poodle mix sissy dog, a stupid cat, and a rooster. They hung out together. They would sit together in a sunny spot near the house. It was the strangest thing, but it talk me no one likes to be alone...not even a stupid cat or a rooster.


Wendy Kaminski
18:37 Feb 06, 2023

Awww! :)


Murray Burns
20:16 Feb 06, 2023

OMG..."taught" somehow became "talk"...they sound sort of the same, so I should at least get partial credit for that...I'm at the stage where I can blame it all on age!


Wendy Kaminski
20:18 Feb 06, 2023

Let’s! Haha :)


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Tommy Goround
21:29 Feb 02, 2023

Ummm dog and hen? Finally I see a real case of forbidden love but I'm still confused... Once you see your very relaxed and happy dog eat a bird that vision never goes away. Obviously I love this idea. Sometimes I eat my wife.


Murray Burns
13:55 Feb 03, 2023

Shame on you... So, once upon a time, we had 2 dogs, a stupid cat, and a rooster. They all hung out together. I'd find them sitting together in a sunny place- all within a 10' circle. I guess all forms of life like company. At times we would also have a few hens. My nephew came over one day with his (aggressive) hunting dog. The dog shot out of the car and had one of the hens in its mouth within seconds...so I've seen both ends of the dog/chicken relationship spectrum.


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Lily Finch
04:38 Feb 02, 2023

Murray, such a well-written story. Your descriptions were amazing as were your similes. Just one thing. Your last sentence maybe have a look at it. LF6


Murray Burns
15:35 Feb 02, 2023

Well...thanks again. I have no idea how a few words got lopped off at the end...I'm guessing operator error. Thanks.


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