She looked sad and miserable when I first saw her. Pollyanna had been found by a good samaritan driving along the road. She glanced to the side and saw a pile of feathers lying next to the road in a ditch, and thought that it was so sad to see the dead turkey laying there. Just as she drove by, she saw movement. Was she seeing things? Did it really move? Or was it the wind? Or her imagination? Then she did what any compassionate person would do; she turned her car around to see if the animal was indeed alive and if it was, what she could do to help it. The young (under a year old) white domestic turkey was alive, though not in very good shape.  Her rescuer was able to stuff the big girl into her car, and she took the injured turkey home to get her the help she obviously needed. Unable to get in contact with the county humane society, the good-hearted passerby contacted Happy Trails. Could we help?

Kevin Bragg and I went as soon as we could to the rescuer’s home and walked around to the back of the property where they had made the turkey comfortable, providing her with food, water and shelter.  Upon examination, it was painfully clear that she had been attacked by something, most likely a dog or coyote. Whatever her predator was, it had brutally attacked her from the back, with deep puncture wounds on her lower back,  behind her legs and under her wings. Her upper right leg was terribly swollen, and she was having a hard time walking. Some of her feathers were shredded and dirty. A closer examination revealed one of the wounds near her rectum already hosted a great deal of maggots that had infested the wound. Before even moving her to the Happy Trails rescue truck, we took the time to clean her up, disinfect her wounds, and remove as many maggots as possible.  A trip to Dr. Riggs and the crew at Barberton Veterinary Clinic resulted in a positive prognosis and a hope for a strong, healthy recovery for this sweet, miserable creature.

She needed a positive name that would make her world happy and idyllic, a name like “Pollyanna”.

So Pollyanna spent several days in quarantine at Happy Trails as she began her journey on her road to recovery. She was on antibiotics and a special fly medication to keep the pesky summer flies away from her sensitive wounds.

This past week Pollyanna was introduced to Homer (now Homera, after it was discovered that “he” layed an egg!). The two turkeys seem to be friends, or at least are tolerating each other amazingly well.  Pollyanna is sweet, loving, and enjoys attention from her human caretakers.

It’s sad that no-one in that area had reported a missing turkey. And if they did know she was missing, perhaps her owners didn’t care. We actually run into this quite often on farms with mass quantities of animals. One goes missing, and because of the sheer number of animals, it might not be missed.  However, it’s rare that a turkey who is heavy and slow and pretty docile would actually wander as far from her home as this poor bird would have been. There is a chance she was abandoned or dropped off like so many animals that we come across.  Pollyanna is slowly recovering from her ordeal.  She is being showered with love and peace and assurance that she is in a safe place.  

To help with her recovery expenses, donations can be sent via PayPal through the Happy Trails website at, or can be sent via regular mail to Happy Trails, 5623 New Milford Rd., Ravenna, Ohio 44266.  Any donating to help defray the cost of care for Pollyanna, Homer or Marge (Homer and Marge are two other rescued turkeys at Happy Trails), you will receive a full-color autographed photo of the turkey of your choice and an invitation to come out to meet them in person!

It makes you wonder, how many other animals like Pollyanna are left to die in a ditch alone?  How many are abandoned along our country roads on a daily basis? While we can’t always prevent bad things from happening to innocent animals, we can certainly do something to help them and to ease their pain when we can. With your support, our work is possible.

Some people might ask why they should care – after all, it’s just a turkey?  One train of thought comes directly from Mahatma Ghandi:  “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” A second line of thought to the question, why do we care? It’s rather simple — because it’s the right thing to do.  

Helping one animal at a time truly does make a difference. Ask Pollyanna. We’ve made a difference for her!