When a well-meaning couple rescued a rooster from harsh winter weather, they were in for a shock. After they brought him home, in fact, he took to strutting around like he owned the place. Now he’s decided to stay forever – and he’s made himself the cock of the walk to boot.
But while pBlizzard might be the head of a household now, he didn’t always have a family to boss around. Indeed, just two years ago he was living a very different life – and one a lot less comfortable, too. That, however, was before he met his unwitting benefactors.
Rara Subramanyan and her husband Brian Kelly, both members of an animal rescue network, were the two saviors in question. In November 2014, moreover, they were coming home from a potluck dinner when they learned of an animal in need. A stray rooster had been spotted nearby.
The couple duly headed toward where the bird had been seen: a town called Erin, northwest of Toronto, Canada. Outside a coffee shop, meanwhile, they made some enquiries to a thoroughly bemused police officer. “He was totally stunned by the question,” Subramanyan told The Dodo in May 2016.
Despite the confused reception, though, Subramanyan and Kelly didn’t give up their search – and, indeed, that finally bore fruit. They found what they were looking for in a scrapyard during a raging blizzard: hiding from the icy winds underneath a wheel-less car was their feathered fugitive.
And one of the items they’d used at the potluck dinner party proved useful. “We scared him out of there, and Brian ran after him with the oven mitts on and caught him and took him home,” Subramanyan recalled to The Dodo. Little did they know, however, that they were in the presence of a master manipulator.
Subramanyan and her husband took their charge home and, with their two children, gave him the name pBlizzard (the “p” is silent). “I asked Brian if we could keep him for a little while,” she added to The Dodo. “Then I looked around wildly on the internet to see if anyone could keep a rooster.”
“I found house roosters and that there are things called chicken diapers,” she continued, “and ordered them.” As a result, pBlizzard ended up with a collection of stylishly designed diapers, including ones with flame and thunderbolt motifs. Now he was ready to rule the roost.
But although things weren’t quite running up to pBlizzard’s standards yet, however, it was nothing he couldn’t solve with some regimented rooster skills. He started by doing what comes naturally to him: controlling his humans’ morning schedule. It was time for a wake-up call.
And he wasn’t going to let a couple of flights of stairs get in his way, either. P-Blizzard scaled both of them and found his way to his new subordinates’ bedroom. He proceeded to climb up on the bed and gave them both the rudest awakening they’re ever likely to have.
In fact, with his beak inches in front of their faces, their new overlord screamed the sleeping couple out of their blissful slumber. A regular rooster call might have done the job, but it wouldn’t have made his point quite as well. And he’s been doing it every morning since.
Subramanyan tried to explain to The Dodo exactly what the sound is like. “He doesn’t cockledoodledoo,” she said. “There is no doodle in it.” pBlizzard obviously found this an effective way of terrifying his servants into line. And since then, he has picked up some more noises to declare his proclamations.
Around 25 of them, in fact. “They all mean something different,” his human described. “He will crow in the morning, usually not before seven o’clock. He crows when somebody enters the house. He crows in the evening, as if to say, ‘Everybody, it is evening time, cool it.’”
“He has a bark sound [and] a yummy food sound. He’s only three and a half pounds but has a lot of personality,” Subramanyan added. And he stomps his personality into everything he can dig his spurs into, including the other pets he tolerates in his house.
It took some time for Possum the pug to find her way into the pecking order, for example, but pBlizzard soon showed her how things were done. “It went from a hostile relationship on his end to following her and sleeping next to her,” Subramanyan said to The Dodo. Now everyone knows who is king.
“All three cats and the pug treat him like he calls the shots,” she continued. And it’s not just the household’s pets who had to learn that this is pBlizzard’s world. “Every dog gets ‘the eye’ when they first come inside,” she explained. And a visiting friend’s large dog got even more than that.
“pBlizzard ran over to him and body-checked him like a hockey player,” Subramanyan told The Dodo. But his humans think that this is the rooster’s way of showing his appreciation for his new family. He doesn’t bite the hand that feeds him, after all.
“He sleeps in the house and considers us his flock. He’s the gentlest guy,” pBlizzard’s mommy/slave said. “You can touch his beak or wattle. He has never pecked a human.” Well, he’s never pecked them aggressively, anyway – but he makes an exception if they show some conspicuous signs of aging.
“He pecks affectionately… and to take out gray hairs,” Kelly added. Still, though, he has other ways to torment humans. For example, pBlizzard has made a habit of going to sleep on the stairwell, looking for all the world like a dead rooster… just to keep his humans on their toes.
Indeed, while he may have made himself at home, pBlizzard was generous enough to let the original owners stay there too. And as long as they’re part of his flock, he won’t let little things like late mornings or disorganization ruin their lives. Not, at least, while he’s in charge.