The Not So Perfect Pet

This is a true story. I was walking to the mailbox and happened to glance up the road beside the house. There was a lone duckling waddling slowly along, looking first this way, then that. I watched for a few minutes as he came toward me, paying me no attention at all.

I wasn’t sure what to do, but it looked as if he were an orphan, so I walked slowly toward him and he kept coming toward me. When we met, he stopped. I quickly scooped him up and held him close. He snuggled in just as if he belonged.

I took him to the house and showed the kids and we fixed a box for him, then had to study to see what we could feed him. It turned out that he liked bugs, but most of all, he liked flies, as in houseflies.

No problem! Living in the country, we had unlimited access to houseflies. The kids began carrying a flyswatter with them everywhere they went and would feed the duckling from the flyswatter.

His name became “Flies” of course, and he would come running when he saw a flyswatter.

We had an old seeping well, so we dug out an area for him to paddle in and surrounded it with chicken wire. It worked, kind of, anyway.

In a few weeks, he had worked his way into the heart of the family. One day, we had company; family members with several children of their own.

It was loud and hectic, with people all over the place and somehow, no one fed Flies. The kids loved him and I had to stop them from playing with him many times.

I don’t know for sure when, but when all was said and done, Flies had died.

It was a painful lesson. Wild animals will adapt to almost anything that means survival to them, but the stress was too much for Flies.

Loud noises, lots of people and activity with no letup for hours is not good for people, much less a pet and even less for a pet taken from the wild. I should have put him in a back room for protection.

I guess that’s the moral of this story. Don’t put your pets in a stressful situation if you can possibly avoid it. It might not kill them outright as it did Flies, but it could shorten their lives.

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