Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Duck In My Tub, Part 4

Hi Folks!

The story's not finished, yet, so read on...

I detected a note of real concern in Bob's response to my email about Pretty Boy's waning appetite. He'd probably had some dire outcome with a duck who'd eaten poorly, but was afraid to tell me. It's just as well - I don't want to know the worst-case scenario anyway. But his concern made me a lot more worried than I'd been before: I had a cat once who stopped eating when he was ready to die, and I didn't want Pretty Boy doing a repeat performance of that. So off to the feed store I went.

By the time I was finished with Operation Eat Your Dinner, Pretty Boy had a veritable smorgasbord of munchies to choose from: arrayed before him were a pile of grass from the yard, a bowl of cracked corn, a dish of cat food, and a bowl of duck pellets. All on my best china, no less, because I'd run out of crappy critter bowls.

He seemed to appreciate the variety: every time I went in to check on him, a little more was missing from the bowls. He sampled the duck pellets with little apparent enthusiasm, while the cat food seemed to be his consistent favorite. The cracked corn usually got eaten, though he appeared to ignore the grass altogether. God only knows how Bob convinced his ducks to eat their vegetables, but it was clear that Pretty Boy had no intention of eating his.

While Pretty Boy's appetite became less of a problem, his eye injury became more so. He'd apparently been scratching an itch with his foot because by Saturday evening, some of the stitches had popped out of place. It was just as well: that flap of skin clearly wasn't getting any blood circulating to it, and I was fairly certain that Dr. Susan would pronounce the attempt at sewing his eyelid back together a failure.

One thing I noticed about Dr. Susan was that conditions and situations had to be perfect. Not acceptable, or anywhere outside the box, but perfect. Where she'd be thinking, "Now you need to find him a nice barn to live in," his usual vet, Dr. Chrys, would be thinking, "He's got that third eyelid to help him out, he should be fine." Two different, well-qualified views on the same subject by two different doctors. To be honest, I much preferred Dr. Chrys's optimism.

I wasn't as worried now as I'd been before about the eyelid not healing well because Pretty Boy still had his sight, and the third eyelid to help him adapt. I knew he'd be fine back at McKinnon's Pond - and anyway, I'm down there five days a week, keeping a close watch on all the ducks. If a problem cropped up again, I'd be able to help.

I knew that Dr. Susan wasn't going to like it, though, the idea of this less-than-perfect critter being sent back to the wild. What had she said before? Two eyes, two wings, two legs. Well, Pretty Boy was five for six with that half wing missing, but he had enough parts to get by with, and he clearly missed his fellows. I had promised him up and down that I'd take him back to the pond very soon, and I meant to keep that promise.

Well, folks, only two more days to go. Tomorrow afternoon, a woman from one of the local papers is coming to the house to see the duck in my tub and write a story about Pretty Boy and I. You'll be able to read the story online, and I'll give you the link the minute I have it. In the meantime, please be kind to all the critters!

No comments: