I saw a missing dog poster today as I stopped at the stop sign on the corner of our street and it triggered a memory for me. About a year or so ago my daughter came inside and told me there was a duck in our neighbor's front yard. It was gone by the time I looked out and other than thinking that was really strange, considering we live in a suburban neighborhood, I didn't give it much more thought. A few days later I was driving the kids to school when one of them pointed out a missing poster sign attached to the street lamp at the end of our street. It had a picture of two ducks that were apparently missing from the neighborhood. I had to laugh out loud because we've seen plenty of missing dog and cat signs but missing ducks was a first for us around here.
A few days later my son came in from the backyard and told me there was a big dead bird in our yard. I couldn't see it from the sliding door and wasn't going out to investigate. This was my husband's territory so I told my son not to touch it and that his dad would handle it later. We have two big dogs and I assumed one of them had killed it. I like birds and all and couldn't begin to count how many times we've rescued injured ones and taken them to rehabilitation homes, but this one was dead so I went on about my business and forgot all about it and about telling my husband to take care of it.
A day or two later my husband was doing yard work. He walked in from the backyard and told me that I was never going to believe it but there was a dead duck in our back yard. He hadn't been made aware of the sighting of the lone duck in the neighbor's front yard or the missing poster for the two ducks so he was completely surprised to see a duck lying dead in our suburban backyard, apparently at the hands of one our dogs.
I was horrified. I couldn't believe that my dogs had killed the pet duck of someone in the neighborhood. I quickly explained the situation to him and told him to get back out there and get rid of the duck before the kids saw it. The last thing we needed was for one of the kids to tell the neighbors and to be forever known as the owners of the duck mauling dogs. I needed some time to think about how we were going to handle this. I felt obligated to inform the owners of the two missing ducks that they were now only missing one duck, but for now I was more concerned about cleaning up the crime scene. You'd have to know my youngest daughter to understand my panic. Rarely does anything get past her and she would've been dying to spread the news. We don’t call her “Harriet the Spy” for nothing. My husband bagged up the dead duck but rather than taking it out to the curb, he thought he should wait until it was closer to trash day so he left the trash bag tied up on the side of the house.
My plan was to eventually drive down to get that phone number from the missing poster and then make the dreaded phone call to inform the duck owner of the sad news and never tell the kids. I can only imagine how shocked my husband and I looked when later that day the kids came running inside yelling that we had a dead duck in our backyard. We didn’t know what to think. Well, the dogs had dug that poor dead duck right back out of the trash and tossed him around like a chew toy leaving a nice trail of white feathers in the yard. It was like the duck that just wouldn't go away!
I went to get that phone number but a few of the digits had smeared off from exposure to the outside elements. I was relieved. A few weeks later my daughter informed us "the word on the street" was the ducks belonged to our white trash neighbors who lived behind and one house over from us. These would be the same people we'd had issues with in the past because their kids would constantly cuss at ours and throw big rocks over the fence at both our kids and dogs so they weren’t exactly ideal neighbors. I was sorry about the death of that duck but decided I wasn’t going over to tell them. I carry around a tiny smidgen of guilt hoping they’re not still leaving the porch light on in hopes the duck is someday coming home, but I don’t lose any sleep over it. Perhaps if they'd not raised misbehaved little foul mouthed heathans I might.
PS. To make matters worse, our escape artist dog had been previously known to dig back there and had gone into the yard directly behind us on a few occasions, so my husband believes that he might’ve gotten into their yard and actually kidnapped the duck. I refused to accept that scenario. There was no proof of that and he's not the fastest dog around by any stretch. Sure it was possible, but it was just as possible the duck flew over that fence. By the way, we’ve now added electric wiring along the fence where he was digging to keep him from venturing out again, just in case he was actually guilty of kidnapping the duck. Technically, I guess that would be considered ducknapping.