I was sitting down, watching telly, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed something. I saw it was a baby duck, and I went back to watching telly, as it takes the brain a moment to process the thought that a baby duck it wandering around your living room. Once the thought kicked it - "Oh, a duck...... A DUCK!?!?!?" - the duck had hidden itself with the skills of a ninja and I couldn't locate it in my house. That, coupled with the fact that the duck waddled literally underneath Owen's nose from where he was perched on the arm of the lounge and O hadn't even twitched a whisker, made me worry that I may have a brain tumour. After all, surely a cat would be interested in a baby duck within chomping distance. But while I was on the phone to a friend an hour later the duck waddled out from under my TV cabinet and then the hunt was on. Although, have you ever tried to hang up so you can go catch a duck? People think you're lying. People think you're tired of the conversation and you have thought of the lamest reason EVER to try and get them off the phone. I ended up ringing WIRES as I have no idea on how to catch a duck, and they told me to keep him in a box and someone would come get him.
"No, he's not in a box. He's in my house! I can't catch him to put him in a box!" I exclaimed.
"What's he doing in your house?" They questioned. I questioned the same thing. A baby duck does not belong in a house. And he was waddling very quickly, so it looked like he wasn't duck-napped and bought inside by one of the boys for playtime later.
To try and catch him, I grabbed some bread, and threw it around the house to lure him. Another phone call to WIRES to find out why the bread wasn't working and I find out that bread WILL KILL A DUCK. It blocks their stomach, and they get constipated and bloated and THEN THEY DIE. These are the things they should be teaching in schools. Sure, Shakespeare is good, but wasn't helpful in duck catching. Yelling "Out, damn duck! Out!" Doesn't work. I know. I tried that very phrase.
So for a moment I stopped trying to catch Joe (Yes, by now I had named him. Joe Duck Duck. Jonah D Duck when he grows up and goes to Duck University and becomes a QC Barrister. My imagination is a wonderful place to visit) and started trying to find all pieces of the killer bread. Then it was back to tracking down Joe, but eventually, and I am ashamed to say this, I gave up. Ducks are hard. They're wily and have a cunning not normally seen in such small creatures. I went to put some washing on the line, and when I came back inside Joe was eating the cat food. Which! Gave me the perfect moment to catch him! Yay! So, into a beanie, in a shoebox, covered with a blanket, on top of a hot water bottle he went. And 90 minutes later the WIRES people came and picked him up. And yet again, I was asked "Why is the duck in your house?"
That is the first question everyone asks when I tell the duck story. And the answer is still "I have no idea."
For the record, Joe Duck Duck is a three week old black duck weighing 97 grams. He also has a unusually large bill - think the Barry Manilow of the duck world - so they call him Bill. But we all know, he is Joe.
And the stupid cats completely ignored the duck the whole time he was in the house. They were useless in helping to catch him. In fact, they sat on the lounge and judged ME for being useless instead of offering helpful assistance. You could see on Owen's face the thought "That's not how I'd go about catching him. Hmm, I should help, but I'd rather lick my bum."
I work with the people who are the local WIRES representatives, so every day I would ask for an update on Joe - making very sure I didn't call him by his name. They frown on naming animals, as it makes it harder to let them go when they're ready to be set free back into their natural habitat of the wilderness. On the Friday, I got a phone call and they told me they were sorry to say that the duck had died.
"What do you mean?!?" I cried. As sometimes I am an idiot, and do not understand basic concepts like death. And cookies. Not that I relate death and cookies in my brain, but rather simples everyday notions are too great for the brain to put into its correct place. The WIRES person very kindly explained to me that the baby duck went to sleep and didn't wake up. And that animals dying in WIRES care is quite common, and that sometimes no matter what an animal doesn't make it.
I am not afraid to say that when I hung up the phone I cried, nay, I wept. And then I remembered that I was at work, and pulled myself together. The lab tech that was working came inside and without waiting for a hello and whatsayyou I blurted out "The duck died!", and (and this made me feel better about myself) they got concerned about the whole matter and gave me a hug and asked me how I was. The duck touched all our hearts.
So, what have a learned from the experience? Well,
Ducks don't come to you if you call out "Here Duck Duck!" or even quack.
No matter what, I will always say "baby duck" instead of duckling.
Ducks are wiley ninjas with the ability to turn invisible.
Cats are useless.
Bread = DEATH
Cat food is good for all, not just cats and the elderly.
Buying shoes is a good thing, as it means you always have a shoebox available
Don't become attached to beanies, as a duck in need will have greater use for it.
and most importantly -
Even though you've vailently searched the entire room, there's always more duck poo to find.