Vi, Savannah + Minnie

A rescued chicken teaches a family about kindness to all animals

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Browns + Minnie

My husband and I have two daughters, and we share our home with two adopted dogs and an adopted cat.

A couple of years ago, I started a garden to grow some fresh herbs and vegetables. Our oldest daughter, who is now six, loves to pick tomatoes and other veggies from the garden and see them on her dinner plate.

"We adopted her, and she quickly strutted her way into our hearts."

I think it is important for kids to know where our food comes from and what goes into growing it. So, this past spring, we took an additional step and added backyard chickens. I wanted fresh eggs that were humanely-raised and more sustainable.

Minnie was found in a field in St. Louis County and taken to our local animal welfare organization. We adopted her, and she quickly strutted her way into our hearts.

The first thing our oldest daughter, Vi, does when she gets home from school is run outside to collect the eggs. Our youngest daughter, Savannah, is two-years-old and loves to push Minnie in her baby stroller or shopping cart. Minnie also enjoys swinging with the girls and eating blueberries out of their hands. Vi tells us that Minnie is her favorite pet. One day I saw Vi lying in the grass with Minnie and overheard her telling Minnie what a special chicken she is and how much she loved her.

We thought we were just getting a nice laying hen that would provide eggs. Minnie faithfully lays an egg a day, but she does so much more. She’s part of our family. She’s teaching our girls about kindness and compassion towards all animals. It is wonderful to see chickens happily pecking the grass, eating bugs, soaking in the sun, eagerly running up to us for a snack, and living the life intended for a chicken.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Kim Brown won Animal Protective Association of Missouri in St. Louis, Missouri a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.