Friday, August 29, 2008

Pretty Boy's Latest Stay In My Tub

Hi Folks!

Welcome to Kelly's Critter Talk! I'm glad you're here!

Well, Pretty Boy's latest visit went off without a hitch. His eye responded to the antibiotic drops and I took him back to the pond as scheduled. He's always so pleased to be home again that he's developed his own little happy dance: he paddles back and forth in the water, opening and closing his bill as if he's too excited to speak. He searches out Girlfriend Duck, makes sure she's o.k., then zips around the pond some more, like he can't believe his good fortune. It's the same every time.

I used his latest stay in my bathroom as an opportunity to reinforce the idea that he and I would be sharing the space during his visits. Pretty Boy wasn't terribly keen on that, and never really did get used to me walking in and conducting my business. He'd eye me suspiciously while I brushed my teeth/styled my hair/used the toilet, and growled if I came too close. When I'd swab the floor with paper towels - attempting to clean up yet another pile of duck poop - he'd squawk and nudge my hand with his bill as if to say, "I don't like this! Back off!"

I'm convinced that Pretty Boy knows perfectly well who I am: that human who's been feeding him since he was a duckling. Considering that he's about five or six years old now, it's been a lengthy relationship. I've lost track of how many times I've taken him to his various vets. He's been a guest in my bathroom four or five weeks out of the last year alone. In spite of all this, I remain somewhat of a stranger to him, or at least, a danger. I tower over him. I control his day - from when he gets tub time to when he's caged, to when we go outside for exercise. And I dictate what he eats while he's here. For an alpha duck like Pretty Boy, it must be hard to take.

So it should have come as no surprise that as I drove him back to the pond - in our new fashion of carrier in the front seat with the top off so he can stand up and get a look around - Pretty Boy took advantage of every opportunity to chomp my hand. And he can pinch you good, if he's got a mind to! "Pretty Boy," I'd ask him, "what're you doing?!" His answer was always the same: another chomp. I try not to take it personally.

Happily, my favorite duck is back where he belongs, hanging out with Girlfriend Duck and relishing the cooler weather we've been having. For a duck who really enjoyed biting me, he doesn't seem inclined to hold a grudge: he's put himself within grabbing range at every subsequent feed, and eats out of my hand when I offer him a fistful of corn. Clearly, he's developed a measure of trust in me, even if he does resent being imprisoned in my bathroom. I'm just glad that I'm able to help a critter in need.

That's all for now, folks. Thanks for stopping by! I'll be back again soon with more animal adventures to tell you about. In the meantime, please be kind to all the critters!

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