“I believe she felt like she could finally be a member of her family again.” 💗
Keeper was discovered walking around in a Walmart parking lot, bewildered and alone. Because the parking lot was not near any water, it’s quite probable that she was thrown there. Fortunately, Keeper was seen by a concerned woman, who contacted Alyssa’s Animal Sanctuary to see if they could assist.
“She’s a Pekin duck, so she can’t fly, so to be hanging around a place where there’s no water nearby is weird for a duck to start,” Alyssa Barry, founder of Alyssa’s Animal Sanctuary, explained. “But then this woman noticed she was staying up near the doors, near where people were, like she wanted someone to help her, and when she noticed she was having difficulty walking and had a bad limp, that’s when she decided to call
Keeper was taken in by the sanctuary, where it was discovered that she is pigeon-toed, a disability that may have led to her abandonment. As they sought to get Keeper established in with the other ducks at the refuge, they immediately recognized she was dealing with another problem.
“We saw she had problems swimming immediately away,” Barry told The Dodo. “When her feathers were wet, the water did not bead off of her as it should have, instead soaking her and making her soggy. So her ability to float and stay above water grew more difficult for her, and when she paddled her feet, her feet would strike one other, causing her to become stressed, so we would pull her out of the water and quickly find that she wouldn’t be able to utilize our enormous pool.”
Barry discovered that Keeper was born without a preen gland, which creates the oils that keep ducks watertight. Keeper couldn’t swim or hang out in the water with the other ducks since she was missing a gland on top of her pigeon-toed feet, and Barry could see that not being able to be with her new family for the majority of the day made her sad straight away.
“She has a kiddie pool that she can get into and stand in at any time,” Barry explained. “However, ducks prefer to stay with their paddlings (their group/family), so every day I would watch as her family went up into the pool and she would sit at the bottom of the ramp by herself until they came back down.” “It made me sad to see her sitting alone at the bottom of the ramp all day while her family was playing in their pool, waiting for them to come down out of the pool.”
Barry was stumped as to how to allow Keeper to spend the entire day with her family while being secure — until one day, while going through Walmart, she discovered a large floatie looking like a duck.
Barry had no clue whether or not the floatie would work, but she figured it was worth a go. She returned it to the refuge and attempted to teach Keeper how to use it; after some trial and error, the tiny duck became an expert.
“She rapidly found that she could balance quite well on it and that she WANTED to be on it,” Barry added. “It took her only a few minutes to understand she was now in the pool with her family, absolutely satisfied, and she sat there all day.” It just became a regular routine for us to take her up and put her on her float, and she loved it. I believe she finally felt like she could rejoin her family.”
Keeper had been saddened by not being able to join her family in the pool every day, and she is thrilled that she now has a means to be with them without having to get in the water. She’s pleased to float around on her floatie all day, keeping a careful watch on her brood while she does so, and she’s effectively become the duck pond’s queen.
Even if the floatie is a little large, it has no effect on the other ducks. They like having Keeper around and hold her and her floating throne in high regard.
“The other ducks haven’t even tried to come on her floatie or annoy her while she’s on it,” Barry added. “She simply sits on it all day and it blows around the pool in the breeze and it’s amazing!”
Despite the fact that Keeper isn’t particularly fond of water, her family at the sanctuary made sure there was a plan in place in case she fell into the pool and no one was around to save her. Keeper can get herself to the underwater ledge that stretches out from the slope into the pool if she loses her balance and falls in. She can then utilize the ledge to get back onto her floatie. It’s all been going well, but the shelter is always looking for ways to make her life simpler.
“We’re working on enlarging the ledge to go the length of the pool and making it even more accessible for her,” Barry added. “But her duck floatie has been life-changing for her.”
Keeper may be a little different from the other ducks, but she can accomplish everything they can, owing to her duck floatie, with a little more elegance.