Mr. Henry Joy
Mr. Henry Joy was an Old English Game Bantam rooster who was raised from an egg by an elderly gentleman in Monroe, NC in 2000. Mr. Joy was his human’s very best friend. Mr. Joy spent mornings riding on his shoulder while doing chores and afternoons sitting on his lap while watching TV They were inseparable until 2001when his human was admitted to a nursing home with terminal cancer.
Mr. Joy arrived on a cold winter day, anemic from mites and with a staph infection called bumblefoot. I got a crash course in chicken care and found out it is not easy to find a veterinarian to treat a chicken. Unfortunately, he lost most of his toes to dry gangrene, but after months of antibiotics, hydrotherapy and bandage changes we were able to save his feet and enough toes to allow him to walk with special booties.
While he was still healing, I began taking him with me on errands between vet visits. He loved getting out of the house and riding in the car. People were shocked that he sat contented in his little basket. One day, I brought him with me on one of my pet sitting jobs. I administered fluids to a cat named Cocoa twice weekly who lived with her owner at an assisted living center. Cocoa’s owner, Esther, was crippled with osteoporosis, and spent most of her time in bed. I brought Mr. Joy into her room and arranged him on a towel on Esther’s lap. In the many months I’d been caring for Cocoa, I’d never seen her owner light up so! She & Mr. Joy took mutual delight in one another. He stretched out his neck for petting and closed his eyes in contentment. It was then I knew I couldn’t keep his charms to myself.
Mr. Joy had a special knack for making people smile. He loved riding in his tiny basket, meeting people all over North Carolina at charity fundraisers, art galleries and pet parades. He reached a worldwide audience through his website www.mrjoy.net, with fans as far away as New Zealand that appreciated his special charm and message of animal sentience. Mr. Joy helped enlighten many folks to the plight of chickens raised in factory farms but he is most well known for his work as a therapy pet. Mr. Joy visited nursing homes and assisted living centers locally bringing smiles and laughter to many elderly and disabled residents. His therapy work gained nationwide attention through television, radio and newspaper stories allowing him to reach an even wider audience.
Although he had a busy ‘work’ schedule, Mr. Joy spent plenty of down time, just being a chicken. In 2009, Mr. Joy left behind his adoring wives, Henrietta and BeBe and two human parents who were blessed to know him.
Even after his passing, Mr. Joy is still making people smile and proving that when it comes to love, neither size nor species matters.