Valerie, a Heartwarming Story


Harpswell, Maine – When Janet Bonney found her chicken in February 1995, the hen lay hard as ice on the ground under the porch. She took the stiff body inside and tried to fit it into a shoebox for burial, but the legs wouldn't bend. So she laid it on a heater and used a hot water bottle. The body slowly thawed as she tried to bend the legs into the casket.

Suddenly, thump! Janet bent down and heard a little breath. Fifteen seconds later, another breath. She began giving the hen CPR--three or four thumps on the hen's chest and mouth-to-beak resuscitation. For three hours she warmed and nursed the patient, until finally, "the quickened chicken stood and clucked."

"I renamed her Valerie, for her valor," Janet told reporters who flocked to the scene.

And now? Janet wrote to UPC in December: "My famous chicken Valerie is still drawing a crowd. I did an interview for a station in Baltimore, MD this fall, and her story was chosen to be on 'The Best of David Brinkley.' The local hospital called several weeks ago and asked us to come in and warm the hearts of the patients. We went to 16 rooms and there were smiles everywhere."

How has Valerie responded to being a celebrity heartthrob? "You can see from her picture how scraggly she looked before she 'died.' She's back in full feather now, but what a difference! She is now Queen. The pecking order in the hen house has changed. She's bigger and fatter than any of the others, her blue-black feathers shine iridescently in the sunshine, she struts around very possessively and with celebrity self- assurance, and even her voice, which once was high and squeaky, is now mellow, low, and mature. A friend who is into animal psychology asked if she was going 'down the tunnel' the day I worked so hard to save her, and Valerie's answer was, 'Yes, but I knew I was to come back and spread the message of caring and love around the world.'"

Janet Bonney can be reached at Box 90, RR 1, South Harpswell, Maine 04090, (ph: 207-725-4388)