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Hi, folks!

I've been away the past four days, visiting family in the New York Fingerlakes region, and saw something happen that has me smiling, so I thought I'd share.

Dick and Jane (real names: honest!) are next-door neighbors at the lake. The first time I met them, they had rescued some baby raccoons. They are regular softies (like me) and are very caring of animals.

Well, Friday I came back from running some errands and found Jane in something of a state. She had a medium cooler chest (no ice in it, lid off) with a bowl of water and some straw in it. It also contained a very young Mallard duckling, which was shivering and looking around.

This little tyke had come waddling down their driveway (they live beside the lake, and the quiet, country road is up a hill, with the driveway connecting the two). Dick saw it first, gently carried it back to the brush by the road, thinking that its mother was most likely nearby. Two minutes later the duckling was back. This happened several times.

Jane finally took the duckling, set up the chest (for its slick sides: to keep the duckling from climbing out) and went to work hunting down flies and worms and anything else that might tempt a duckling.

I picked the duckling up; it felt hot and light, and seemed almost to vibrate. I located a fly (drowned) and put it before the duckling, which scarfed it down. We all talked: they couldn't put it in the lake: without a parent around, its life expectancy was pretty short; it would end up being the prey of turtles or pike or pickerels. They could try to feed it, but weren't very optimistic. I pointed out that there was a petting zoo that might take it - if it was open for the summer.

I also suggested they contact either a vet or a pet shop or dealer in birds to get suggestions for feeding.

I left them debating what to do. (I couldn't take it myself, since while I thought Boomer and BJ might enjoy playing with it, I thought the experience would not be a good one for the duckling.)

Jane and dick spent the night soaking bread in water and feeding it to the duckling along with whatever bugs they could catch. And then, the next morning - success! Jane was sitting on her porch sipping coffee when she saw a flotilla of mama duck and ducklings going by. She ran to the cooler chest, picked up the duckling, ran to the end of the dock, and carefully tossed the duckling after the group. It went PLOP! into the water and started paddling after Mama and babies for all itw as worth. It got in with the group and in a moment we couldn't tell which duckling was which.

We all got onto the dock and watched them swimming away.

Happy endings are so nice!

(If this weren't the pet board I'd brag about the 5.5 or so quarts of farm fresh, ripe, red strawberries sitting in my refrigerator at this moment...)
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