After priding myself on the new pen arrangement and anticipating the peacable kingdom, I came home to find the dogs out and the chickens dead. I haven't been able to find Demeter's body, though her feathers are everywhere. The other two were in plain sight, mutilated. Patrick and Lytton were slinking around the pen, looking guilty and not glad to see me. I have to believe that they knew I would not be happy about what they had done.
I have no animosity toward them, though. They did what dogs do. I knew, as I wrote earlier today, that they would kill the chickens if they could. The fault was in my fencing, and my failure to notice that the dogs weren't inside. There are always places where the dogs can get out when I first fix a place for them. It takes a few escapes before I get everything secure. I expected that, but I never expected to forget to put them inside when I wasn't going to be home.
I was overwhelmed with grief and guilt, but have since accepted that there is nothing I can do now. I feel terrible, but I still want chickens. They give me so much pleasure. I love to see them strutting around, clucking and pecking. It's discouraging to have this same thing happen over and over, and there's nothing that will make me feel okay about it. But, I know that most chickens live much worse lives than mine do, and their lives end pretty much in the same way.
There's nothing to do but keep going.