When you think of therapy animals, chickens are the last thing that spring to mind. But Darla the tutu-wearing therapy chicken is hoping to change that, one adorable cluck at a time.
Darla was rescued from an animal fair a few years back, along with two other chickens in poor health, however sadly she was the only one to make it.
The family that rescued Darla have helped her recuperate and she’s recently been certified as a therapy chicken.
The hope is that she’ll be able to help enrich the lives of children in schools.
Darla was saved by Erika Proctor and her son Finn, who run Virginia-based rescue group Green Dogs Unleashed for deaf and blind dogs.
The young chicken settled in very quickly and it wasn’t long before her and Finn developed a special bond.
Her daily life now consists of spending time outside with the other chickens, and then using a special dog flap to go into the house to play with Finn. They read together, play together and Darla is apparently quite happy to be zipped up in his jacket and carried around.
Noticing Darla had a lovely temperament, Erika decided to get her certified as a therapy chicken.
Currently, she works with scouts and camps. But the hope is that she’ll one day be approved to work with children in schools too.
“Many people see chickens as only a source of food,” Erika told The Dodo.
“Having people — children especially — get to know a chicken personally, brings a new level of education and awareness to the animals.”
Darla isn’t the first feathered therapy animal to make headlines. In October last year, Daniel the emotional support duck came to the public’s attention when pictures of him soothing his owner on a flight were shared online.