King Augie Pays a Visit to Princess Fritz
While visiting my friend M. at a pet store where he works, Phout and I met a woman, C., who has a Pekin pullet named Fritz who was waddling around in the pet room of the pet store without a care in the world. C. and I began chatting about ducks as a curious crowd gathered around Fritz who wore one of C.'s custom designed diaper harnesses. (C. later explained she's been perfecting the duck diaper harness for several months now.) So, even though I don't believe in fate, I still walked out of the pet store that day thinking, "I guess I was meant to go there today in order to meet C. and Fritz."
I soon connected with C. through an online social network where we were also involved in a duck lover's group. Fritz was featured in the group's album, strutting around in her diaper, lying casually on the back of C.'s sofa, and swimming in the lake with C.'s daughters. And, in a few weeks, C. contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in bringing some ducks over for a play date.
The next challenge was deciding who would go. I considered bringing a couple of ducks, but after a lot of thought I decided on Augie Duck. Like Fritz, Augie was heavily imprinted on humans and, after a lot of exposure to other ducks, finally got used to them. C. had informed me that Fritz thinks she's a human and that she's never met another duck.
Augie rode on my lap in his lavender basket. It was lightly raining as Phout decided to pull over and get some coffee. Augie and I remained in the car where he stood in his basket and quacked his hoarse drake quack every time he saw people moving about in the parking lot. Of course the woman who parked next to us had a huge smile on her face as she got out of her car and saw Augie looking through the window at her. He watched the raindrops run down the windshield and fluttered his wings (which I think is a sign of excitement, nervousness, cooling off...and/or all of these).
We drove a few more blocks and pulled up C.'s driveway for the first time. She waved from the window and soon Fritz was ambling down the ramp from the wrap-around porch and Augie was waddling up the ramp toward her. I began videotaping at this point, though nothing much happened. I don't think Fritz knew quite what to do and I think Augie knew enough not to step over his bounds at Fritz's castle.
After Fritz and Augie jumped up for lettuce treats, we returned to the outdoors where the ducks walked about the lawn. I remember the scene where both of their duck butts were facing us as they munched on grass and it reminded me of this field of pot belly pigs I used to pass on my way home from the university and how those pigs looked like a bunch of randomly placed Russett potatoes. And that's random, I know.
Until recently Fritz has enjoyed total freedom wandering about the extended front yard, attracting the attention of neighbors who have looked out for her as she's roamed about during the daylight hours, but Fritz took a longer walk one day which necessitates a secure enclosure to keep her safe when no one's home. At night Fritz sleeps in a corner of the kitchen behind a plastic barrier.
The Play Date Video: