Monday, April 14, 2014

Pipke on TV

It was begin August 2000. 

Pipke was still in good shape and healthy.

Only one week before she got ill for the very first time in her life.

But then suddenly mid August we could see that she wasn't doing so well, her health started to deteriorate.
It was very obvious to see that she was once again in the moult.
She had the same problems as the previous years, but this time it seemed much worse.
She began to eat less and less when at a given moment – after approximately one week – she just stopped eating completely. We were very worried about her well-being. Now she hadn't been eating for almost a fortnight and she became far too skinny. Therefore we started to weigh her every day and the scale told nothing good!
Every day she lost almost 25 to 40 grams, and measured to her total body weight – that was very much. 

At the start of the moult.

It was Sunday, August the twentieth, and we trusted it no longer.
We were afraid that we might lose her.
One week earlier, one of our neighbors (who knew about Pipke's situation) had given us the name of a veterinarian who lives in our neighborhood.
And did we have luck. Quite by chance – he was a bird-specialist.
So we phoned him and described her situation.
He was so kind to receive us although it was his day off.
He examined Pipke superficial, but he couldn't find anything at that moment and therefore he gave her a vitamins injection. If it wouldn't be better the next day then we had to come back.
It wasn't better the next day – only worse!

She sat there lifeless in her little water tub. 

We even couldn't lure her to eat an earthworm, and that had always been her favorite treat. 
She even refused to nibble on the roots of dandelions.
Therefore we made a new appointment with the vet the next day on Monday, August 21.
Before we left, I washed my face with cold water to hide that I'd been crying. My eyes were all red and puffed up – I really looked awful.
When we arrived at the vet we were very surprised to see that there stood a large truck of the Belgian Dutch-language television station parked at his practice.
There was a TV crew recording film images for an animal program called 'Animal Clinic'.
We had seen that program very often on the *Belgian Dutch speaking broadcaster (*BRT at that time) and now they were here – filming!
Already on the parking lot two members of the TV crew came to us to see which animal needed the vet's help.
They were very surprised when they saw Pipke.
Of course – they didn't expect to see a duck, but rather a dog.
They also could see that she wasn't an 'ordinary duck'!

So we went inside and while we were waiting in the waiting room they asked us many questions about her. So we had to tell them her story (in short of course)!
How her life started – how our bond grew and so on.
They also asked us what Pipke's problem was – so we told them what was going on at that moment. Of course now that they came to know more about her situation, they were eager to film her during the consultation at the vet's examination room.
First I refused. I was a little embarrassed because I looked so dreadful. This wasn't the appropriate moment to appear on TV – not for me – but surely not for her!
Actually – we both looked terribly – but the manager of the film crew insisted, and after hesitating a while I agreed. I did it in fact for Pipke. It was about her, and now she could be seen by so many viewers of the program. (At that time there were about “one million” viewers and believe me – that's a lot for such a small country like Belgium.)
A member of the film crew installed a little microphone on my shirt and so we could enter the vet's examination room.

I suppose you know a little how the filming of such scenes goes and because I can't show you the scene I'm going to describe you how it went.
(Sorry but I can't show the film scene. Why – I will explain later at the end of this chapter.)

The host of the program asked us which animal was sitting in the container.

Then I had to come in action, and while I took away the lid of the container where Pipke was sitting in I said: 
"this is Pipke our pet duck".

 Our little jack -in- the- box

Actually, although she was in such a thorny delicate situation, it was funny to see that, when I lifted up the lid, as a jack -in- the- box, Pipke's head came peeking up just above the edge – very anxious quaking and looking around.
She was so afraid that she tried to jump out the container on herself. Therefore I took her out the box, put her on the examination table and embraced her to reassure her that she was safe with me.
Actually – we both were not at all at ease with the camera aimed at us.
The vet examined her again and this time more thoroughly. This time he also took a sample of her feces and held it under the microscope.
So while the vet was busy with looking in the microscope, the host asked me to tell him how it came that we had a duck as pet. So you can guess it: once again I had to tell her story in short.

In between we could follow the examination on a screen – and there appeared two evildoers!
She had not only an infestation of *flagellates but she also had worms.
We could see something very small moving. It were the flagellates – (cells with one or more whip-like organelles).
*This a very common infestation for all kind of birds.
Although these flagellates are such microscopic small things – they can cause much problems. A heavy flagellate infection can even be fatal.
Flagellates affects and destroys the intestinal wall and so the animal can not digest food anymore.
The symptoms of flagellates are, a loss of appetite, and loose and dark stools.
Also vomiting can occur. 
(Actually - on the one hand: Pipke had 'bad luck'!
She now had to defeat two strong enemies – while she was totally weakened.
But on the other hand: she also had 'much luck' because – without the help of the vet she had never been able to win the fight.)

Then the vet gave Pipke two pills to kill the worms.

Thereafter – to give Pipke the necessary injections the vet turned her upside down. (Oh, she was so afraid when he did that!)
By doing this, the tiny feathers which Pipke was losing flew all over the place.
By manner of speaking: 'it was snowing fuzz'.
The result was that now the table was covered with her white fuzz.

He gave her then, one injection against the flagellates, and yet another one with vitamins to support her. Thereafter he gave her tube feeding which he had prepared for her.
He took her beak to open it but she opposed it, so he had to force her to open it.
Then– very carefully he brought in the long tube. This is a very delicate action because the trachea and the esophagus are located so close to each other. You can imagine what would happen if you did this wrong.
Actually he gave her a kind of parrot food because there exists no liquid tube feeding especially for ducks.

Bah, she didn't like that at all! 
Comprehensible – she also wasn't a parrot!
She even shook her head repeatedly – trying to spit out the food, luckily without success otherwise the calories which she needed so desperately would have been lost.
Parrot food is in fact the only bird food with so much calories, and she needed as much calories as she could get.

After all this 'abuse' she had become so frightened that 

she jumped up straight into my arms – afraid that there would follow other maltreatments.

Of course in her eyes this was maltreatment, no one had done this to her before.
(It's really so unfortunately that I can't show you this particular scene. It's so touching to watch how – after she jumped into my arms – she hugs me and hides her head in my hair. I can't get enough of this scene!)

When the examination was finished we went outside to the waiting room while the host followed us.
He thanked us for our cooperation on their program and wished that Pipke would get better very soon.

So we went home with the hope that Pipke's problems would be over now, but this hope became a great disillusionment.
Even several days after this second visit to the vet – and being filmed to appear on TV later that year – Pipke still wasn't getting better.
She'd lost now more than half her weight and it still went downwards.
A terrible time for us all followed – interspersed by concern about her wellbeing – and sleepless nights by fear of losing her. 
At a given time we were even close to despair.
Seeing her suffering – not being able to alleviate her pain it was really heartbreaking.
Going to the vet so many times and watching her – to undergo the torture of the tube feeding. When I think back at these periods then my heart still bleeds, but it was for her own good that we went on with it, otherwise she wouldn't have survived it.
So, we had to revisit the vet for tube feeding – in total *19 times (*and this only that year) – before she started to eat again by herself.
Fortunately – after more than one month she started to recover.
In total it took nearly two months to return the 'lively Pipke' as we previously knew her.

In fact, Pipke was a real riddle for the vet. He never had experienced such a case before, although he is a well-known eminent veterinarian. He gives lectures all over the world.
During all the years (ten) that we consulted him we saw there people who came from Holland, Luxembourg, Germany and even England with their birds, birds of all species like: Cranes, Owls, Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, Parrots, Pigeons and all other kinds of small birds.
We saw only a few ordinary mallards, but – Pipke was of course not an ordinary duck!
She was a duck with a tuft on her head: a crested duck – and a special lovely one.
Also for the vet she became a special case. She had captured his heart too. He would treat her for the rest of her life.
Now we still say that we really have had much luck to find him at that very moment that Pipke went ill for the first time, otherwise she wouldn't have survived it.
We also were lucky that he lived so close to our home, only approx. three km away.
Now that she had survived the ordeal and was fully recovered we pampered her more than ever before.

After such a long period of worry and fear of losing her we discovered what and how much she meant to us.

She made my life complete!

We couldn't imagine our life without  her.
From that moment on, I started to write about her in my diary, and this time, it became a real diary.
I noticed every move she made in a manner of speaking. I hadn't done that before.
Later that year, the TV producers informed us that the program 'Animal Clinic' would appear on TV. We hadn't told our neighbors nor friends about it. We had kept it silent – so it became a real surprise for them.
They – we – and also approx. one million viewers saw the broadcast on TV on November 14, 2000.
I can assure you, seeing yourself on TV is odd.
For me it was a real disenchantment: 'was this my voice!' I disgusted my own voice.
Knowing that I was being filmed – it made ​​me a little uneasy to find the right words.
I must admit, I will never be a good actress. Although – actually you can't compare this with acting. I had no time to study and repeat a text. I also did not know which questions they would ask me.
No really – in this regard – you haven't missed a thing. Maybe it's even best that you also can't hear me talking, otherwise you would perhaps close the speaker:) !
It was also weird. I almost didn't recognize myself on the screen.
But – other people had recognized me. The next days when I went to town to do my shoppings, several people asked me: “aren't you the one with the duck on TV?”
Then – even several years later, those same people sometimes asked me how it went with my duck. 

Well, and how it went further with Pipke, that I will tell you in the next chapter. 

I'm going to close this one with the words the host used in the program: 
“and here's Pipke again – 
the most affectionate duck in the Western Hemisphere!”.

Yes, wasn't she a sweetie!

When the series ended later that year, at the end of the very last broadcast the host mentioned Pipke's name.
He expressed a special word of thanks to Pipke for her cooperation to the program.
Wasn't this a beautiful way to close the series!
That made our day!
Till next time – then I will go further with: A Dissolution. 

Bye, bye 
and thanks for reading my story.
I hope you enjoyed it!

PS: as promised I will explain why I can't show you the film images of the broadcast on TV.
Because I couldn't retrieve the images of the broadcast which we ever recorded on VHS, I have sent a mail to the manager of the image archive of the TV station with the request to send me a copy of the images on DVD.
I was very surprised that – before they would send me the film images I first had to sign a document in which I declare that I will use the footage only for private use.
Because I wanted to show the images on my blog, I sent them the request to allow me to show only a small part of the film images but it was denied.

So – I have received the film images on DVD, but because of the copyright I can't show them on my blog!

I hope you understand that I have to comply the agreement.

Here you can find more detailed information about the problem.  


  1. An, thank you! I have been checking back now and then to see if you had been able to post further, and now I am happy to find this new post! I understand about the copyright issues; they can be strict! :o Thank you again and take care!

    1. Very kind of you to do so much effort to follow my blog. Actually, it is not only the copyrights that's playing tricks on me, but there is also the fact that the original tapes with the footage that were taken long time ago are no longer in my possession.
      Because of that I will also have the same issue in some following chapters.
      In this last post on my other blog 'my nest' I describe that problem in detail.

  2. ah, I tried to post a comment, but it appears to not have worked out. I try again. :)
    Thank you very much for this account! I understand the copyright issues are frustrating. (there is often music I would LOVE to use in choreographies, but cannot due to such things)
    It is great that the people all seemed to be enamoured of Pipke!

    1. It must be a big hurdle in your creativity that you even can't use some tracks for a choreography! Actually, music and dance they both are complementary, and some music pieces are really appropriate to express a dance. 
Dance adds more value to some music. Actually it's all about money. 
I also had an issue on Pipke's YouTube channel. 
I got a warning that I'd violated the rules by using music.
The video 'In loving memory of my best friend Pipke' is even blocked by that fact in some countries. 
On the video: 'My pet duck Pipke: the love of my life', I also got a warning. 
Now I don't dare to upload more videos with audio, because – as far as I know, after three warnings your channel will be closed and that would be a pity.
It's not that we earn money on the use of this music. 
Anyhow - thanks for your comment and reading Pipke's story! I hope you will have less problems with the copyrights so that you can choose what you like!

    2. What concerns my reply above!
      Of course I know that, if you do choreography then it's obvious that you know this all too well!
      It's nothing new what I'm telling here.:) I just wanted to give you my opinion.

  3. This comment is solely intended in order to test if my recent comments widget works.
    It is frustrating that it regulary stops functioning although I didn't change the settings!
    Sorry for this inconvenience!

  4. Fran, you are so right about music! I am inspired greatly by some things, and not at all by others, which does at times make some jobs I get rather challenging. :)
    Oh, and regarding you-tube and such things: Have you tried Vimeo? I now use that for most things instead of you-tube. (purposefully typed this way... ;) ) It is also easier to make videos and other things only visible to whomever you choose. (password-protected, etc.) Just a thought. :)

  5. Vimeo? I've never heard of it Ter-o-fla.!
    I'm going to search on Google how that works.
    Anyway thanks for the Information.
    Now I wonder if this comment will appear on my recent comments widget in the sidebar!
    I've tryed to re install the HTML code several times but every time without succes!:((
    I've had that same problem previously and then I could resolve it, but this time it seems as if the devil is playing a game with me!