This is a deeply personal and beautiful, albeit sad story that happened early March 2020.
To preface, I live on a pond and have many, many ducks in my backyard that I've known for years. They are wild and not "mine," but I've been intimately involved in their lives for the past 2 years, naming nearly single one that I could discern by markings. I've witnessed three generations of mothers, fathers, mates who grew apart, mates loyal til the end, and ducklings who grew up to be mothers themselves.
The particular duck in these photos, whom I named Charlotte, was a domestic breed - meaning she was bred by humans to be meat and thus too large to fly. At some point either she or one of her ancestors was dumped off at this pond because ducks are a lot more work than they seem. Ducks are all at once hypnotically serene yet capable of extreme drama, messiness, and loudness.
But Charlotte was never resentful of those who dumped her off. In fact, she relished in my company always from the moment we met over two years ago. She was the very first duck to ever welcome me to my new home. When I would sit on the grass with her in my backyard, she was always inching as close as she possibly could - sometimes investigating my shoes, digging into my jacket pockets looking for treats. Other times she would simply fall asleep near me as I did homework. She was always one of my favorites and I looked after her daily.
Then one day fate stepped in. Charlotte appeared literally on my front door step. A rather unusual feat for her since she would have to walk half a block along the sidewalk to even reach my doorstep. After stepping outside to say hello, I knew something was wrong. She was puffed up (a sign of illness in all birds), lethargic, and didn't even want the blueberries I gave her. She had a slight head tremor. She had been looking a bit poor the previous few days, but this was alarming.
She pushed her body against my calves like a cat who wanted affection. I sat down on the ground with her and the most unbelievable thing happened: she crawled into my lap. I knew for sure she was asking for help and desperately wanted comfort. I wrapped my arms around her, breaking my own “no touch” rule for wildlife. She immediately fell asleep.
I wrapped her up on a towel and took her to Liberty Wildlife Rehab in Phoenix. She was a total champ the whole car ride and only panicked a handful of times. She was quickly quieted when I wrapped my arms around her tighter and whispered “It'll be okay. I've got you, girl.”
Liberty Wildlife promised they would return her to the pond if they could save her. But I knew in my heart she didn't make it. She never came back.
Not only was her arriving at my doorstep a once-in-a-lifetime event, but a powerful, unmistakable message was delivered to me that day:
In that moment, I was ENOUGH for her.
All the lifetime of self doubt and negative beliefs about my ability to contribute anything beautiful in this cruel world was instantly dissolved. She, a wild animal, sought out my comfort in her final moments.
A mere three days later I was scheduled for my Reiki for Pets class, and I can't think of more glaringly obvious way for the universe to tell me - "You need to work with animals. You are enough."