Back in September, I wrote about the surreal day that I came out of my boat half-asleep to head off to the café that I use as my office, and promptly found a tortoise just blatantly wandering along the towpath, just not giving one single fuck.
No fucks were given that day.
Anyway, yesterday I got as far as the café itself and got my laptop open when a fellow boater called David (who is also my cat’s uncle-don’t ask) appeared in front of me and said “there’s a duck having a problem.” “There’s a duck having a problem?” “Yes.” I had to reach for some words here, but finally found “what kind of problem, and why are you telling me!?”
Basically, as a locum vet nurse, I am clearly the local Pet Rescue service, and so when someone finds something furred or feathered, it generally ends up in my hands.
I reluctantly followed him back to the boats-I had a metric fucktonne of work on, and FFS, it’s a duck-there isn’t a lot that you can do with wildlife, after all. I realised with some humour that this broken duck had decided to start quackering on for help right outside of the same girl’s boat that the tortoise had last time, and neither her nor me could believe our shit luck.
Anyway, something clearly was amiss with this duck, which was making a lot of noise but not moving much, and appeared to have injured a wing. This became even more evident when said duck (now named Quackula) proved incredibly easy to catch, and I instructed David on how I wanted him to hold the duck in order to restrain it comfortably while I examined it.
David is-almost a caricature of a middle-class midlife crisis, and will happily admit this. He is the kind of dude who irons his jeans and would never be caught with a five o’clock shadow, and despite really loving animals, had not signed up for on-the-fly duck restraint, and his panic was truly something wonderful to behold.
Anyway, we got the duck into my cat carrier (the self-same cat carrier that Thor the tortoise shit all over last month) and went through the whole “who wants a duck? RSPCA? RSPB? The local one-star café?” before the RSPCA asked us to take it to the local veterinary clinic on their dollar.
I cringed at this-as a veterinary nurse, I can tell you right now that there are few things clinics are less enthusiastic about than having wildlife brought in, as these things are not really within the realms of their experience, and generally, no one wants to pay for their care.
David, however, was insistent, so Quackula, he and I bailed off to the local clinic, who took it off our hands in a reasonably good-natured fashion, and returned my cat carrier to me, once more coated in shit, and bonus, piss too.
I’d lost about two hours out of my working day by this point and was already snowed, and so I was not really that over the moon when the clinic called bang in the middle of the next day (which saw me frantically trying to catch up) to ask for us to go and take it home.
I pinged David to ask him to go and get his duck, which he was happy to do, but refused to go without me, despite my protestations about generally being really busy and not actually caring all that much about the duck.
I caved and went with him, and even then was not allowed to leave him to it-David was insistent that I go with him to release it as “I am the veterinary professional.” I pointed out to him that you don’t actually require any formal qualifications to be allowed to undo the catches on a cat carrier, but David was having none of it, and finally Quackula went back into the canal and I got on with my day.
However, Quackula hasn’t actually gone far-now that she has a name and David is determinedly trying to feed her up before winter, she’s basically moved into our stretch of canal, and doesn’t look like going anywhere any time soon.
Did I mention she’s also the noisiest duck that ever did live?