Patches was born in the summer of 1993. Her mom Grace was one of the sweetest, daintiest, friendliest and smartest ducks I have ever had. Patches is nothing like her mom! Grace was snow white and fluffy like a little pampered princess. Patches is black and white. And neither is Patches anything like her twin sister Peanut. Patches is unique! If she had a role model, it would be Scarlett O’Hara. She is extremely dramatic and, if she doesn’t get her way she just whines and complains, clucking a mile-a-minute!
But, she is Robert J.'s all-time love. One summer, a few years’ back, she was crossing the road in front of my house and, I guess she just didn’t look both ways and was hit by a car. Fortunately, she wasn’t hurt too badly, just shocked and traumatized. After I cleaned her up and took care of her cuts and bruises, I placed her in my hospital cage to recuperate. Since Muscovies are group oriented, I always leave the hospital cage outside all day so that their friends can visit them. Ever the dutiful lover, Robert sat by her side and her cage all day, every day, whispering sweet nothings in her ear. Each evening, he would wait until I put Patches in the garage before he left for his spot on the dock.
About two years later, in early spring, I was absolutely horrified one night to see a red fox sneak up on Patches in my neighbor’s yard. I saw him grab her and I saw her go limp in his mouth. I was so upset, I charged outside in the middle of the night in my nightgown chasing him along the fence line. He disappeared with Patches and I cried all night. Ditsy as she was, she was still one of my special girls.
The next morning, I noticed Robert across the creek just sitting all alone by an old building. When he didn’t move for almost two hours, I began to worry that the fox had also hurt him since he was with Patches when she was attacked. I took out my trusty binoculars and what I saw warmed my heart - truly, a sight I shall never forget - Robert sitting next to a bloodied, hurt, but very alive Patches!
Now, came the hard part. It was Saturday and the dredging company across the creek was closed. The only way to Patches was to drive around the creek to the boatyard which is next door to the dredging company, then climb from boat to boat until I got past the boatyard and onto the dredging company property. Ordinarily, not too difficult a task, but I had just had knee surgery and I didn’t think climbing around on unsteady boats was what the orthopedist had in mind when he told me to follow my usual routine. I enlisted my husband‘s help - just in case. All in all, the trip was pretty smooth, except for going over Mother Goose's nest. We finally made it to a sad and worried Robert and an injured and exhausted Patches. She didn’t give me any trouble catching her. I think she knew I was there to help. Into my arms she came and then into the travel cage for the return trip home. Robert took the easy way - he just swam across the creek!
Home at last! When I checked her out, I was amazed to see that other than a deep bite on her neck which had stopped bleeding and was already clotting, she was not too badly injured. After a two-week stint in the hospital cage, of course, with Robert at her side every day, she emerged her usual dazzling self!
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how Patches escaped from the clutches of the red fox and can only come to one conclusion. She must have fainted or just acted like she was dead. If you knew Patches you could just picture her swooning - a la Scarlett!
It was most likely when the fox dropped her, probably with wonderful visions of tender duck morsels floating around in his head, that Patches decided she was not ready to be someone’s duck dinner and took flight. She is a graceful and strong flyer and, I'm sure that she totally surprised the fox. Patches did, however, learn her lesson. She doesn’t wander all over the backyard in the middle of the night but stays very close to the dock.
In the early fall of 2001, Patches quietly joined Robert and Peanut. It is rather fitting ... since they always did everything together that now they will forever play together on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge ... I so miss my little "ditz" ...
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Copyright (c) 2000, (c) 2001, (c) 2002, (c) 2003, (c) 2004 by Maria's Duck