Darla the Silkie chicken loves her tutu, and people with special needs love her.
The canine therapy program run by Green Dogs Unleashed has accepted a new member, but this one lacks four feet and paws. Instead, the recent graduate is covered in feathers.
Darla, a white Silkie, was hanging on to life by a thread when Erika Proctor, founder of Green Dogs Unleashed, saw the chicken at a fair. Proctor was accompanied by her young son, Finn, who begged to bring home Darla and two other ill-looking chickens to at least give them a happy ending.
Darla turned out to be a tenacious little chicken.
Proctor started the Virginia-based non-profit Green Dogs Unleashed to match special needs dogs, mostly deaf and blind, with special needs humans. But before being paired up with a foster or adoptive human, the canines get certified through GDU's therapy program.
Darla has been so loved by those who meet her that she became the program's first therapy chicken. To top it off, she frequently makes her rounds wearing a tutu.
Proctor, an animal behavior specialist, hopes adding the bird to the program will encourage people to have respect and appreciation for animals of all types, even those who are frequently viewed as just food.
If Proctor plays her cards right, Darla will also be joined by a goat and mini horse while working to bring smiles to people's faces.
Darla receives star treatment prior to her visits so that she looks as dapper as possible. This includes a bath and fluffy feather primping, complete with bows and avian-suited diapers.
You can follow Darla, Finn, and the rest of the coop on their Facebook page: Finn and Feathers.
What do you think of little therapy chicken? Tell us in the comments below!
All photos via Finn and Feathers/Facebook.
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