Howard the duck does not live here. But he almost did, and that’s good enough for me.
Howard was dyed yellow as a baby, and put up for sale at a flea market in Dundalk where he seduced a little girl into buying him. Howard had a lot of friends who were also dyed stupid colors and, no doubt, seduced underage children. Howard is only a few months old now, and his life has not been easy, but he is a very, very lucky duck.
He could have been killed by the dog that tore him up and killed his companion when it got into little girl’s yard. But the mother’s boyfriend took him to a vet and nursed him back to health. He could have been dumped on a lake, as advised by the boyfriend’s father. He could have been kept indefinitely in a bin in the boyfriend’s apartment, depositing smelly poop and never being able to eat worms (one of the greatest joys in a duck’s life).
But the boyfriend did the right thing. And he didn’t give up. This boyfriend, whose name I never learned, had had no idea how to care for a duck, didn’t have any pets of his own, knew nothing of duck issues or needs, or where to even begin – all he knew is that Howard really wasn’t very much into watching TV or pooping in a bin in the kitchen.
So he got on the Internet, called around…. called so many places he got telephone elbow. He discovered, in the process of his investigations, all about the problems of neglected horses, injured wildlife, abandoned goats, and the pervasive problem of animal cruelty and neglect. He said to me, a lot of pain in his voice, “I had no idea.” After 5 days of calling, he found a good place for Howard that was not a 2 hour drive (as my farm would have been). “Howard met up with other ducks and made friends right away.” But, he also said when he got back to his apartment he kept missing Howard’s little face peering around the corner.
Howard’s fairy godfather (aka the boyfriend) spoke to me tonight with a new sort of anger and astonishment about the flea markets. He wanted to know how it is OK to dye young animals different obscene colors. He wanted to know how it is OK to sell them to just anyone who happens by with no thought to the future of that baby beast. He wanted to know who takes care of these animals when something goes wrong. I wanted to say to him — you do.
Till next time,
Star Gazing Farm 501(c)3
A haven for retired farm animals and wayward goats