Tommy the turkey was raised by someone who thought that it would be cool to raise their own Thanksgiving dinner. But when it was time to kill him, the man could not do it. So Tommy was given to The Gentle Barn to be our guest of honor for our vegetarian Thanksgiving.
The man gave us all kinds of warnings as to the turkey's aggressive tendencies and we listened intently having never met a turkey before. The first night we had a long talk with Tommy telling him how beautiful he was and how we were going to take good care of him. We told him that he was safe and that we hoped that one day we would be great friends.
The next day he gobble gobbled when he saw us and he followed us around like a puppy dog. He loved to be pet and fussed over, and he especially loved being admired for his spectacular plumage. He loved human company and was always a gentleman with the children who visited the barn.
One day when we had a lot of visitors Tommy singled out one small girl, it was evident that he had a crush on her. He put his head on her chest and just stood with her for at least 10 minutes. When the little girl went to go, Tommy grabbed her sweatshirt. He held on to her for a very long time. The sweet girl continued to pet him, until he was ready for her to leave.
We believe that animals are often misunderstood. We have found that when you take the time to really listen to the animals you will find that they are smarter, more loving, and kinder than we can possibly imagine. More often than not, animals come from a place of love, not aggression.
Because turkeys are genetically engineered to grow big for the meet market, they have chronic health problems. Tommy was lucky in that he was mobile, active, and healthy for a long time. But, after almost 4 years of excellent health, genetic engineering finally caught up to him and it grew harder and harder for Tommy to walk. We tried to keep him comfortable and treat his conditions, but after several months it was clear that Tommy had little quality of life.
Because we love him so much, and because our commitment to our animals far surpasses our own need to be with them, we decided to help Tommy out of a body that was no longer serving him. He died in our arms with us thanking him for teaching so many people just how spectacular turkeys can be.
Tommy was our rainbow who lit up our lives and our hearts.
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