Woodstock the therapy chicken dies at 10

A founding member of Pet Away Worry and Stress at the University, the chicken died of old age earlier this month.

Tanya Bailey from the Animal-Assisted Interaction Programs holds Woodstock, a therapy chicken, Monday, Dec. 9, 2012 at the Learning and Environmental Sciences building in St. Paul. Woodstock, one of the founding members of PAWS, passed away earlier this month.

Emily Dunker, Daily File Photo

Tanya Bailey from the Animal-Assisted Interaction Programs holds Woodstock, a therapy chicken, Monday, Dec. 9, 2012 at the Learning and Environmental Sciences building in St. Paul. Woodstock, one of the founding members of PAWS, passed away earlier this month.

Keaton Schmitt

Woodstock, the therapy chicken known campus-wide for her calm nature and work ethic, died earlier this month. She was 10.

Woodstock joined the Pet Away Worry and Stress team at the University of Minnesota’s Boynton Health Service as a founding member four years ago. Since her first day on campus, she worked to impact the lives of countless students.

Woodstock and her owner, Tanya Bailey, visited campus every week in a small basket, patiently waiting for students to walk by and say hello.

“[When going to PAWS] I just was immediately attracted to Woodstock,” said senior German, Scandinavian and Dutch major Trevor Mitchell, who has visited PAWS for two years. “[She] was probably the calmest bird I’ve ever interacted with.”

Woodstock, a novelty among her canine colleagues, was popular with PAWS regulars and newcomers alike and enjoyed the human interaction, he said.

“When I’d pet her or scratch behind her head or something, she’d fall asleep in the basket,” Mitchell said.

Woodstock will be remembered for her distinct hairstyle and an afro-like tuft of fluff atop her head, said junior Olivia Trudeau, who has frequented PAWS for two years.

“[Woodstock’s owner] would say you don’t want to touch her hair even though it’s fluffy because, like all women, she doesn’t like her hair touched,” she said.

Bailey, an animal-assisted interaction program specialist with the school’s Center for Spirituality and Healing, loved Woodstock’s ability to help stressed students calm down and take time for self-care.

Beyond her quirky pluck, students interacting with Woodstock connected on a close, chicken-to-human level, said Dave Golden, director of public health and communications at Boynton.

“We learned a lot from the chicken,” Golden said. “In a lot of ways, I feel like we got schooled by her.”

Around campus, she’ll be remembered as a celebrity.

“We got a lot of requests for Woodstock,” Golden said. “She was a hardworking chicken.”

Woodstock, who retired several months before her death, was replaced at PAWS this summer by Attila the Hen, also known as Tilly.

Tilly attends most East Bank PAWS events, similar to Woodstock.

She’s already leaving her mark at the University,

“[Tilly]’s fantastic,” Golden said. “She’s a great chicken.”