Friday, 23 July 2010

An odd little moment


I bought my first two runner ducks a few years ago now. and kept the gentle, nervous females, who have mothered all of my many ducklings over the last few seasons.

I named them Nell and Maude, and I suspect both were older ducks when I bought them. Yesterday Nell looked tired and wobbly on her legs, and without the usual hysterical screaming that Indian runners exhibit when they come into close human contact, I caught her and placed her in the quiet duckhouse with food and some water.
Today the old girl remained ill , so I placed her back into the duck house and got on with chores before I needed to leave in order to take one of our elderly neighbours to hospital. When I returned I took the goslings out on to the field for a walk and sat down with them with a bowl of water for them and a cup of coffee for me.
As we sat there in the sun, Nell tottered out of the duckhouse and walked very slowly over to us.
She drank briefly from the goslings bowl as they craned their necks and twittered at her and not six inches away from us, she sat down in the warm sun where she lowered her head into the grass.
I thought to myself that she was dying and very gently I picked her up and let her lie in the crook of my arm where she sat still and very calm.
There was something small but incredibly moving about the whole little scene, and moments later Nell's breathing slowed and then eventually stopped.
It was the oddest thing

26 comments:

  1. Oh.....I wasn't expecting to read that.......I'm not sure I could cope with all those seaths. Are you going to bury the body?

    Gill in Canada

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  2. Farewell, Nell. You were cared for well all during your last years, and were in loving arms when you passed. Sleep well.

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  3. gill thats the way things go with birds, they only live a few years.......thas why its so quick to hatch out a new batch if you need them!!!

    if it upset you too much, the whole cirle of life thing would put you in a loony bin!!

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  4. oh, the darling girl.
    How heartbreaking that you lost her, but hearwarming that she elected to spend her last moments in the company of her beloved human and two sweet babies...
    So sorry. I would bring you a cake if I lived closer.

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  5. pOLLY

    thanks forthe cake offer....as for Nell..I think she just wante a drink, but it was a little sweet moment!

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  6. so glad you were there at the end....my daddies were there for my older sister's last breath and they wouldn't have had it any other way... PEACE

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  7. Sorry about Nell. But what great place to fall asleep forever, in the arms of someone who cared for you. Great job!
    I had one of our guinea pigs fall asleep in my arms once, that was so sad, but made me feel good that it didn't die alone in a cage.

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  8. Poor Nell, but so nice that she got her last drink and was with you, so much better than dying alone. I was wondering how long ducks lived, now I know. Such a peaceful end.

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  9. Oh John, that was so touching. Sleep well Nell. There was a reason she came out for a drink. It wasn't only to get a drink, but to be with you for her last moments. Hugs.

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  10. What are you trying to do to me John? Don't kid yourself....Nell was saying thank you and made her way to be near good energy....YOU.

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  11. What a tribute to you, John! That Nell chose to spend her dying moments in the company of a human says a lot about how much she trusted you. You could have just let her lay in the grass and die but you held her in your arms. You're a lot nicer than you like to let on...

    ;-)

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  12. Jesus, I never know what to expect when I open google reader in the morning! This one has me mopping tears from my eyes sitting at my desk.
    Reminded me of the stories you read about wolves coming in to die by the fire of a lonely cabin. I'm so glad you were out in the garden just then...

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  13. Damn dude. I nearly cried! I know that's the way life goes. But I tend to be more sensitive than I should. I'm a tough guy. I do all the hard labor things. I drink beer. I like fishing and getting dirty. But I wear my heart on my sleeve. Sorry bout the poor gal. She's resting now.
    ~Randy

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  14. Isn't it interesting how you just happened to be sitting down having your coffee at that time, in that place? Coincidence...I think not!

    Bless you!

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  15. Aww John, I think Nell knew she was safe with you so that's where she wanted to be. She was well loved. Such a beautiful way to 'go'..in the arms of someone who loves you. A very special moment indeed. I hope you have a wonderful weekend....Maura :)

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  16. Bless her what a sweetie - it must have been touching.
    When Sam our retriever had to finally be put to sleep I cradled his head & he did exactly that- went to sleep. I'm so glad I was there for him - he was so peaceful & relaxed - his tired old bones all rested.

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  17. Animals know when the end is near. She knew where she wanted to be when it was time. It's almost as if she wanted to say: "You did right by me, John, and now I'm staying here (for good)."

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  18. She was very beautiful! I like how she was gazing at you there in your arms.

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  19. Things like that are odd, but still poignantly beautiful. I'm an old softie at heart and teared up that she came so near you at the end. Good on you and good for her that she found a comfortable place to end her days. Lane

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  20. I think Nell more than wanted a drink. I think she wanted to go with good company. The company she knew and that cared for her.

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  21. A sadly precious moment in time that one must cherish. I was certainly moved by your account. I can only say that somehow, inside the 'Duck rationale' she knew what was happening and she trusted you with the last moments of her life.

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  22. Oh, lovely little duck! I'm glad you were there when she breathed her last.

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  23. She had a great life with you, and a peaceful death xxxxxxxxxxx

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  24. Came lately to this post. You are a gentle and kind soul.

    Wow, do you really follow all those blogs? That looks like a full time job!

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  25. Anonymous5:24 pm

    What a beautiful story John...you're right. I loved it. :-) Reading the comments I'm reminded of how powerful that human instinct is, to try and ascribe motives and meaning to the way that others die, in order to draw comfort and try and make sense out of something so HUGE.
    I have no way of knowing what motivated Nell to come out there in the end...whether to get a drink of water, or to just be outside in the sunlight, or to draw her last breath in your arms. What I do know is that she died cradled and tender, and in so doing shared a gift of beauty and grace with you as well.
    Thanks for this... Dia

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