One of the benefits (or drawbacks, depending on how you look at it) of living in a small town is that everyone knows everyone. Now try being the fourth generation in that same town and not have everyone not only know you but your parents and grandparents as well. Well, Mom is that fourth generation and everyone, literally EVERYONE knows her and her animal whispering ways. So of course it’s Mom that they call when a bird flies into their window and isn’t moving but is still alive, or their cat found a nest of baby bunnies without a mom, or they found a tiny baby squirrel on their sidewalk. Mom will go rescue said animals, rehabilitate them and eventually return them to their natural habitat. With a pond in our backyard we’ve been domesticating geese, ducks and other wild fowl for decades. If they don’t come from our own backyard, attaining them usually begins with a call from a local vet saying someone has brought in (insert wild animal here), can you help? And that’s just what happened when she acquired Peeps, the wood-duck that has been living with her since last spring. He was found running around one of the busiest roads in town after his mother was hit by a car, he was no bigger than a mouse and absolutely terrified; but never fear, Mom is here! And the rest is history.
Peeps (or, “Duck” as I affectionately call him) technically lives in a cage in Mom’s kitchen, but honestly spends almost no time there. He has his own chair in the living room where he spends hours preening and sleeping. If you try to sit in said chair he squawks and pecks to remind you that it’s HIS chair and YOU shouldn’t be there. He takes a bath in the tub every morning, and sometimes in the dog’s water dishes in the afternoon if he’s feeling particularly dirty. He sleeps in the sun with the dogs; something else you should know about Mom’s house is that somehow – no matter what their species – all of the animals get along. I’ve seen our cat watch a cockatiel waddle under his nose without batting a paw, our tortoise and bunny would snack on kale together while the cockatiel preened atop the tortoise’s shell. It’s crazy and unnaturally awesome.
Peeps chomps on dog kibbles when the hounds eat their dinner, if Mom is a few minutes late to prepare it he goes and pecks at the bag to remind her it’s time to eat. And if – God-forbid – Mom comes home and doesn’t immediately greet him he will pick at the hem of her pants until he gets his desired attention. He’s smart enough to seek shelter under the dining room table when things get too hectic and longs for warm days he can spend outside pecking at the grass and swimming in the kiddie pool; ‘cause at Mom’s house – since there’s no kids – we have kiddie pools for our animals. Below I share a few pics of Peeps from tiny gosling to his beautiful, full-grown self because -if you’re like most – you’ve got to see it to believe it!
You’ll also see Peeps’ strange resemblance to Reverend Al Sharpton. 😉