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The Duckling

March 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 129

My daughter and I left my son home to return a video to Blockbuster. On the way out of the parking lot, we spotted two little ducklings waddling through the lot. I pulled into a spot and said, let's get out and watch. I thought we were going to see a mother duck and her ducklings waddling across the road. There was no mother anywhere to be seen, only these two ducklings. I thought Oh dear, they will surely die, we have to help them. We walked around through the lot looking for the other ducks. I said Kristin, go to the car and get a grocery bag to put them in. I did not think she could hold two ducklings in her hands in the car all the way home.

She got the bag, one of them was stuck in an oil slick. We scooped him up and put him in the bag, and went off to find the other one. We were looking under cars and all around. I spotted a man and his wife coming towards us. The man had a turban on his head and the wife was dressed in what I thought was native Indian dress. My daughter went up to them and said have you seen a duck? Not understanding english they looked at us quizzically with a look that said "what?" My daughter said, a duck a duck, you know quack quack, they still looked puzzled, so she got the one duckling out of the bag and said "one of these." The man's eyes got big and he said Oh, Oh, and began to look around, he said to me "you must be a mother." I said, I am a mother, he said no no no a mother duck and that man squatted down with his arms bent waddled around the parking lot with his wife dressed like a queen, quacking and quacking trying to get the little duckling to make an appearance. After a few minutes of this, I grabbed my daughter and said, let's get out of here.

Once home we had a problem. One baby duck and no clue how to care for it. I called a friend I knew who had raised ducks and received some good advice. Our dog stayed outside so I was not too worried about him. I allowed my daughter to stay home from school the next day to care for this little duck whom she had named frisky.

I found out that he was probably a wild mallard and it is illegal to keep them as pets in the city. We found someone who would take the duckling at their farm and my sister in law took my daughter and frisky to his new home. This broke my daughter's heart she was inconsolable. She had become attached to this little duck. I knew this would happen, but what was I to do leave him in the parking lot? We received a report that frisky was doing well and had adapted to life on the farm. My daughter was still very sad about losing that duck. I found a place that sold domesticated mallards which are legal to have as pets in the city.

We drove out to a farm in the county and bought a baby mallard. Kristin named him Zeus as she was studying Greek Mythology in school. We brought him home prepared with Duck food and a place for him to sleep. Again, I left Kristin home the next day to take care of him. We let him swim in the bathtub which was a riot to see. He was very sweet and would rest his head on your shoulder when you held him. When I left the next day, I said Kristin whatever you do do NOT let the dog in the house with the duck or bring the duck outside with the dog. Late that afternoon she called me crying hysterically, I could not understand anything but the stupid dog and something. What happened is that she had put the dog inside and had the duck outside, but our storm door did not always close all the way and the dog saw the duck, bolted out the door and grabbed him in his mouth breaking the ducks leg.

I rushed home from work and we rushed to the vets. Both of us crying in the room was perhaps more than he could stand. He called a friend of his who happened to be a bird specialist. That man agreed to perform surgery on our duck - free of charge. I had everyone I knew praying for that duck. The vet was able to put a pin in that ducks joint and told us he would be ok. The vet took Zeus home with him for the weekend as he needed to be monitored closely and medicated every 3 hours. He told me that his wife came home and saw all the grass in the tub and said, "ok, what kind of animal have you brought home this time?"

Zeus grew into a beautiful duck, We bought a large kiddie pool for him to swim in as he quickly outgrew the tub. My cousin's husband built a cage in our backyard with a chicken wire top. From the day he came home from the vets the dog did not go near him. I somehow think he realized this was a beloved pet and he left him alone, not that he had a chance, but he did not show any interest anymore. Zeus was a lot of fun, we loved watching him in the pool, what a swimmer. We took him to the beach with us and he was quite a hit with all the Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. But soon, as all babies, he was a full grown male. He began biting our legs every time we went outside. It was quite painful and difficult to avoid. I was told that he wanted a mate and Mallards are very aggressive during mating season.

The decision was made to let Zeus go. I called Country Park and made arrangements for him to be let go there. An employee met us at the park, examined Zeus to insure that he was not carrying any disease. We were given the go ahead and so Kristin and I walked down to the edge of the water, put him in and walked away. Zeus decided he wanted to go home with us and followed us up the yard. He began biting Kristin's legs and she trying to get away grabbed my t shirt - she was pulling me around and around in circles, Zeus was at our feet biting whatever leg he could and I was trying to get Kristin to let go of me so that I could pick him up. Finally, I was able to extricate myself from the vise grip of my daughter, and pick up Zeus. I walked to the edge of the water again, and this time using both hands, I heaved Zeus out to the middle of the lake, grabbed Kristin and hauled it out of there. As we were running at full speed back to the car, I heard a woman say, "No, honey, I don't think you are supposed to pick the ducks up."

(c) E L E Hammer 2012

E L E Hammer, MA Owner of Hammer Consulting. I raised two children on my own. My daughter graduated from PSU and my son is a senior at NC State.

Source: EzineArticles
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