by Joseph Lookinland
At around 4PM on the 1st of December, 2021, our dear friend Jack, passed-away…
For an entire month I have struggled at addressing and finalizing this obituary… His death shouldn't have happened. And it is so sad to have to sift-through all these old pictures of him when he was still alive.
As we all come to realize, the 'natural world' insists that no one can live forever. But still, I wish Jack could have lived years longer - still thinking, breathing, and experiencing the many pleasantries of the world, like the rest of us…
Jack was a beautiful, Red Orpington rooster of almost three and a half years of age, and was the best rooster I've ever been friends with. Throughout his life, everyone who ever saw him commented on his beauty (and size!).
But beyond that, and importantly, he was so incredibly kind. Not only to the other hens and even another rooster, but every human! He literally never once pecked or harmed any visitor, ever. Simply put, he was not an aggressor. He was one of the most reliably kind and calm roosters I've ever had the pleasure of knowing and caring for.
The day after he died, my girlfriend wrote about him, "He was the leader of the flock but he earned his respect not through violence but by being attentive, protective, gentle and kind. Other birds cuddled with him for warmth and followed his lead."
He was so large, unselfish, and full of feathers that literally every bird in the flock he grew up with would take turns wedging and resting their heads and bodies under his for that extra, needed warmth.
And now, as we enter a particularly cold winter here in Latvia, I feel bad for his remaining friends now left to fend off the cold all by themselves. I just hope that they somehow learn to be as kind and caring for each other as he was towards them…
As with our friend Budda who died in March, Jack's death was mostly brought on by anemia caused by a battle with parasitic mites. Learning from Budda's tragic loss, we cared much-more intensely for Jack. But still(!), it was not enough…
With the advice of a vet, we fed him vitamins and an iron-supplement (with caution), and we went to great lengths to eliminate the mites across his body and in the coop…
He made improvements, but then suddenly, in some sense unexpectedly, he died just a few, short weeks later. I found him only minutes after he had passed, and tried CPR… But I was too unprepared and ignorant about the process, and soon gave up…
Jack, I could have tried more to help you in general, and possibly save you, and I didn't. I didn't. And for all my shortcomings, I am so incredibly sorry.
As my girlfriend wrote, "Our hearts are broken. We love you, Jack. Thank you for bringing so much joy to us and thank you for opening our hearts. The flock will never be the same without you. We will all miss you. RIP."
I love you so much, Jack. So much. Your death has been so hard to bear. You were so loved. And even though you'll probably never comprehend your importance on this planet, you were important.
As I said about Budda, I am so sorry for your suffering, Jack. I truly wish I could take that all back… We love you. And I will remember you for as long as I live…
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