If this was a story of a dog or a cat, the amount of effort and cost for this animal would be easily understandable. However, this story of doing everything possible for a pet you love is about a chicken. I get it. I had no idea how cool chickens were until I bought a flock. They have personalities and intelligence that only long slow observation will show you. After you have seen this side of a chicken, they own a little peck of your heart.

I came across a story from CSU titled "Why Did the Chicken Cross Drake Road? To get heart surgery at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital". Immediately I knew I needed to know more about this chicken named "Blue" and this pet owner. I contacted the "chicken lady" Seleta Nothnagel.

We share an enthusiastic joy for chickens. She informed me that Blue is indeed an indoor "house chicken". My first question was of course about the chicken poop in the house. Don't worry, Blue wears a diaper. Look closely at the picture above. Seleta changes his diaper in the morning and at night. This is the moment that I started thinking of my own ten hens and how cute they would all look in a diaper.

Blue dressed up for St. Patty's Day/Seleta Nothnagel
Blue dressed up for St. Patty's Day/Seleta Nothnagel

Okay, back to the groundbreaking chicken surgery that happened at CSU. Seleta had been noticing that Blue was seeming extra stressed, was panting with an open beak and her chicken coloring was off. She saw vets along the Front Range. Finally, a CT scan performed at CSU showed Blue had a hole in her heart.

The next part is best described in Seleta's own words:

This surgery had never been done on a bird before, and the anatomy of the chicken made it even more difficult to achieve a successful repair. I could easily lose her on the table, but if we didn’t try, I would eventually lose her to heart failure.

I knew I would be devastated if I lost her during surgery, but at least I would be assured of three things:

1) An entire team of skilled veterinarians would learn something that day about poultry medicine and the human-animal bond that may help someone else down the road.

2) I gave her a chance most people would not have had the care, courage, or financial means to give.

3) That never was there any ounce of my love and devotion I did not give my beautiful girl Blue!

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