Tonight after dinner out at one of our favorite establishments, we stopped on our way home to walk around the "lake" (a loose term here, since I would really call it a large pond especially after having lived in Minnesota for two winters, Land of 10,000 Lakes, but people in our city like to refer to it as a lake, especially since it has two resident swans to gaze at). Anyway, the "lake" is in a residential neighborhood not far from our house, in an established part of the city, and there are beautiful houses on the street surrounding it. Just like we always do, we parked our car, got out, and proceeded to walk our lap around. All three of us enjoy searching for the swans, watching the ducks, and counting the turtles.
Soon after we got started, we noticed one of the houses on the street had two ducks (one white and one brown, more wild looking) and a goose drinking in their yard out of a dog bowl. Curious, we stood and watched, and after a minute, the man of the house came down from their porch to talk to us. He explained that people sometimes dump their domesticated fowl at this "lake" (run by the city parks association), probably thinking it is the best place to dump them when they can no longer care for them. He said that he and his wife noticed the poor duck swimming crazily in circles, so she jumped the fence to investigate, worried that he might have gotten a fishing line stuck to his leg or gotten attacked by one of the resident snapping turtles, and it wasn't too long after they got him out of the water that they discovered he was blind. Poor little duck, dumped, domesticated, and blind. They've since given him residence across the street at their house, along with a dumped goose.
(I'm sure you've all seen a duck before, haha, but here is one he looked quite similar to.)
It was so fun to talk to the man and hear their story, and he even allowed the three of us to grab a handful of the duck/goose food and feed them out of our hands. Their beaks moved so fast gobbling up the food from my hand -- it sort of felt like a weird little sucking vacuum cleaner. I've never petted a duck before either, but he was so soft and surprisingly sweet, although the poor guy really looked out of his wits not being able to see what was going on around him. The goose was extremely noisy, honking and walking back and forth around us, a very curious fellow indeed.
(And here is an image of a similar goose. His neck was so much longer than the ducks, and like I said, he was much noisier as well, but also quite friendly.)
The goose took a particular liking to my shoes and my toes and would not stop pecking and nipping at them. It didn't hurt all that bad, but it was pretty funny. They also had a dog and two cats, and it was pretty neat to see all of the animals hanging out together for a short while. The man also told us that the blind duck had apparently made a little friend in the wild brown duck, who had been protecting him over in the "lake" those first few days after he was probably dumped, and now the brown duck occasionally comes over to visit the white duck in his new yard. How cute is that?! Of course, we are definite animal lovers, and my husband, whom I often refer to as St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of the animals, due to his constant rescuing of any and every animal he comes across (and no, I am not Catholic, this is the only saint I can actually name), well, he was especially in heaven with our little animal encounter. And of course, the rest of our walk around the "lake", my husband and I talked about our dream to eventually live out in the country a little ways on some acreage, with room to have lots more animals, including a goat for me named Nan (just like in one of my absolute favorite movies, Tammy and the Bachelor), and now, I definitely have added a duck to my wish list.
It's evenings like these that I love, little encounters when you least expect them that remind me of the good out in the world. Hopefully we will get to see the little blind duck and the loud nippy goose more often. Next time, though, I think I'll wear some close-toed shoes...:)