Betty – the Hen, Dot – the Horse

A story of animal behaviour from the early years of Morewood

George Moffatt married Agnes Marcellus on October 15th, 1902. When the family mill business was being terminated, George purchased the farm of Robert Steen and became a farmer. It was there that their only child, Kenneth Fraser Moffatt was born August, 19th, 1905.

-The story from Dr. James Arnot MacGregor-

In thinking about the days Aggie and George Moffatt were living on the farm, there came to mind an episode concerning a hen, called by me Betty, that I consider cute. Her genealogy life was brief but interesting while it lasted. Aggie invited her sister Edna and I to have Sunday evening tea with them at the farm. I drove Dot, one of my favorite horses, hitched to an open square piano box buggy and on arrival tied Dot in the barn yard near the hen house for the three hours we were there.

After tea and enjoyable conversation we were soon back home when Dot was unhitched and put in her stall. It was while putting the buggy in the carriage house that I spied the hen under the seat along with the egg she had laid. Betty was put in the stable and the egg taken to the kitchen. Evidently she had crawled under the seat to do her laying act while we were in the house. When I telephoned Aggie to give her the news about the hen she simply said “Just have her for pot pie” and had a good laugh.

Saving lives having been my aim in life rather than terminating one, whether animal, fowl or human, Betty was left to while her life away in the stable with the horse. I did not count on her developing such an inseparable friendship with Dot that I would have to shoo her off the horse’s back when she needed to be curried and brushed.

When Dot was led out to the pump to get a drink of water, Betty would remain on her back with Dot walking very carefully so as not to giggle her off. Strangers found the two most amusing during the deep snow of winter to watch them put on their act as Dot had to plunge with each step. Try as one might, Dot could not be rushed and always kept one eye on the bird as they went forward.