Well, as luck would have it, I can’t leave well enough alone. Remember our little duck friend from the other day? Good. I did too. That’s the problem. It was eating at me that we had so harshly turned our back on her when she needed help. I didn’t like the way the other catty, mean-girl ducks were quacking as we left her. They didn’t like her. You could tell.
So, we went back up to the pond the next day, to just look from afar and see how she was getting along in her new setting. We walked everywhere, man, we walked everywhere. No duck. She just wasn’t there. Feeling especially crummy and bad duck-neighborish, we went home.
It was nagging at me for a few hours so I rallied the troops, aided by my super-supportive and loving hubby who truly is a, “good man Charlie Brown”.
We rolled off in the family truckster, armed with water and little cups of ice cream to placate the whiners. Oh, and bug spray. Always bug spray. After choking our way through the DEET cloud, we walked down to the pond. While it seemed a fruitless pursuit after the afternoon’s failed excursion, we forged ahead anyway. After seeing no duck (did I mention we named her Yvette? Long story but it stems from the genius movie Clue) we stopped to have some water. I saw something moving on a nearby tennis court. Low and behold, it was Yvette!
How and why she made her way to the court is beyond me. The youngest child was busy sinking up to her knee in sludgy mud, the eldest preoccupied with her iTunes and headphones and the middle child wanted to climb the middle-school football obstacle course. Very concerned for the duck. I went and picked her up and filled my hand with water. She gulped it down for what seemed like forever. I don’t know how long she had been up on the court, but she was a pretty hungry and thirsty little duck.
We headed back to the car, successful, Yvette peeping along behind us. The unfortunate thing was that she had been rejected by the other ducks. Now what? Home, I guess.
We put her back in the sandbox pond in our yard, dug up some worms and caught a moth and some grasshoppers (this nice July weather must have them sluggish or something) and she gobbled away.
“That little girl is pretty hungry! She ate the biggest earthworm I ever saw,” said the youngest. “Well, almost the biggest. There was that one we saw in the rain that time and it got all stretched out because it was wet and the rain washed it on to the concrete and it was trying to find the dirt so it got really long and it was going to die because the sun was coming out and it couldn’t get to dirt so I moved it before the birds of the sun could get it. Do you remember?”
Yes, there was that one.
After a bit of splashing, snacking and preening, we tucked her in to an old cat kennel with a towel and a small dish of water for the night, hoping she would rest easy and get some strength back.
We called a duck rescue the next morning to set up a delivery. The nice lady is a teacher who lives on property with a pond. She rescues ducklings and raises them for release into the flock on her property and lets them make their way from there. She was delighted at the prospect of Yvette as she had a duckling, Mallory, that really needed a friend. (Yes, Mallory the Mallard).
We met at the PetsMart parking lot-seemed perfect for the drop. It was here that the youngest child staged her mutiny. Flinging herself over the kennel, she wailed, “I want to keeeeeeeeeep herrrrrrrr!!!!!!”
I explained the obvious and logical facts:
Yvette is a duck and we are not.
Ducks are social and need other ducks.
We have dogs.
Dogs eat ducks.
We have no pond.
Ducks like ponds.Yvette is a mallard and mallards migrate so in 6 months, no more Yvette.
That did the trick, right?
Have you met the youngest? She’s got a bit of a stubborn streak.
“Nooooo, don’t take her! She loves us! I want to keep her!”
I had to pry her off to get the kennel out of the car. The nice duck rescuer and her daughter took Yvette out to transfer her to their kennel. She commented on how imprinted on humans Yvette was and how gentle. “She was probably somebody’s child’s pet and when she got bigger, they just let her go.”
At only about a month old, she still needed a mother’s guidance. For another month at least. The nice rescue folks said they would feed and love her until she started dismissing them in favor of other ducks. Then she would move out to the pond.
For the next three hours, the youngest intermittently cried and fell into despair. “I miss Yvette!”
We took them for ice cream and it seemed to get a little better.
Good luck Yvette! We know you will have a great life at the Duck Spa. Don’t forget to write!