I’ve always been an animal lover – to a fault. After being completely traumatized by the death of Bambi’s mother, I swore off all Disney movies until I was 17. When my mom took me to see a “K-9 Cop” movie when I was 7 or so and the dog was shot, I stormed out of the theater and waited in the lobby until the movie finished. I’m the type of person that can’t watch more than 1.5 seconds of those Sarah McLaughlin animal rescue commercials without changing the channel – I can’t bear the injustice of seeing these little creatures that are completely guileless and innocent be harmed in any way.
So when I spotted a tiny duckling in the middle of a five-lane freeway underpass a few weeks ago, whatever superhero instinct we possess as humans kicked in.
I leapt off my bike and ran into the street. I didn’t evade traffic – I didn’t even consider it. My singular thought was, “I will NOT watch this animal die.”
That night, the tiny two-week old duckling slept nestled between my braided pigtail and my earlobe.
I was in love. I kept him for 10 days and did every kind of research imaginable on ducks, duck rescue, wild ducks, ducks as pets, duck diapers (they exist, and they’re much cuter than you think), etc. Ultimately, I realized my duck would likely fly away one day by instinct. I was not preparing him at all for the wild. He was getting the Four Seasons treatment, but what if he just wanted to float down the LA River with his friends?
So I took him to a wildlife rescue facility where he could learn to be a wild duck – find a mate, lead a flock, and maybe one day tell stories of how he once lived in Rapunzel’s hair, ate kale for breakfast, and defeated the giant evil dog Gretel.