Monday, September 14, 2015

Loving Memorie


If my love could have saved you, 
you would have lived forever.

May 25, 1995 – September 14, 2009


PS: *link!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Normal Days in Pipke's Life: part 1


Although she was often ill; of course, in between she had also good periods. 
These were such happy times! 
Then she could be so cheerful, lively and even a little naughty.
A normal day started for Pipke at the crack of dawn. During her whole life we were then also usually awake around that time. It seemed as if we were programmed so.
We often could hear her already from upstairs in our bedroom – quacking loudly – even before we had opened the door to the garden.


Most of the time – it was my hubby who went to her pen to open the little gate.
From the moment she saw him, she started to bob her head. 
Then my hubby bobbed his head too, to answer this warm well come.
It was cute to see how she stood there – pushing with her belly against the little gate. She was really impatient to come out.

When my hubby then opened her pen, the first thing she did was to give him a snuggle, not a snuggle like she gave me, but rather a nibble in his fingers, her way to say “good morning” to “opa”.

(For her: my hubby's name was “opa”, and my name was “oma". She knew our names very well. Oma and opa are the Dutch names for: grandma and grandpa.)

Then she usually ran directly to the back door to welcome me in the laundry room. 
For this normal morning ritual, I always wore my Pipke's coat or my Pipke's shirt to keep my daily clothes clean for the rest of the day. It's not that she was really dirty, no - she was even very clean for a duck, but – as you probably know already: a duck can poo a lot.

Therefore, when I carried her in my arms, I wore her so – that her behind was free, (in fact she preferred to lie like this) so that she couldn't poo on my clothes.

Actually, she has done this very rarely because she shook her tale just before she was going to poo and then I knew what I had to do.

There was “one” exception in this morning ritual. So now and then my hubby let me sleep a little longer (fifteen minutes). When she then entered the laundry room and saw that I wasn't there, she went to look for me.

So, my hubby said to her: “Pipke – where's oma, call oma”, and immediately she started to quack!

Also my hubby called then: “Oma – there is a little one waiting for you!” Now she started to quack even louder.



Coming downstairs, I often could hear my hubby say to her: “listen Pipke! Do I hear something?” Whilst saying this – he stuck his finger in the air. She then kept quiet, raised her head, tilting it to left and right, listening very attentively.

When I called her then – she became really elated – full of joy! 
(This is how my hubby described these scenes to me afterwards.) 
From the moment she saw me, she started to quack even more exuberant and ran towards me – and she didn't stop quacking - until I picked her up.





Then there followed a “full love scene” in the laundry room. 
(Click on the link above to watch the full love scene!)
She cuddled me then over and over. 
Oh – she could be so sweet! 
This was the best way to start our day!



It depended on the weather but when it was cold, we sometimes let her sleep in the kitchen under my chair for a while – on her synthetic mat. 
She knew this spot very well, we only had to say: “*doeke doeke with oma”, and immediately she went to sit under my chair. 
(*Sleep with oma, in a Dutch dialect.)




When it was extremely cold, we let her stay inside for an hour or so to warm up. She slept then on the worktop of the laundry room often with her beak between her feathers while we were having breakfast.


                                                
So now and then we gave her a lukewarm bath. She was keen to take a bath in the sink.

We only had to watch out then that she didn't do her whole wash ritual, or the whole laundry room would get wet.


In fact: the laundry room was Pipke's room. I never used the worktop for anything other than Pipke. I only used the sink so now and then to hand wash some clothes.

We always had disinfectant ready in case that an accident should happen. We always were very watchful about her droppings because it can cause severe problems if it should get in touch with an open wound.
During Summer she wasn't interested in staying inside. After the cuddles she immediately wanted to go outside to sleep in her dog bed, or to make her nests between the Indian cane.
After approx. one hour it was time to look for earthworms.





Then she went to the fork. Most of the time the fork was planted somewhere in the garden – and then she started to quack there loudly until opa came outside.

It was sometimes beautiful to see how she and also a Blackbird were looking for worms together, while opa was knocking on the fork.

Once, I had found this blackbird in Pipke's pen. It was still a baby and it couldn't fly, it still depended on its mother.

I let it stay there in Pipke's pen and fed it every day. After some time, we could see them eat together, it seemed as they had become friends. This blackbird (we had named it Zwartje), knew also very well when it was time for worms. From the moment that Pipke stood there waiting near the fork, he appeared.

When we entered the garden house with Pipke to eat from the big grains supply container, sometimes also Zwartje flew inside to eat there. He then ate what laid on the ground – and he sat so close to us, that we could almost touch him. He was very at ease with us.


                           
It even happened a few times that he entered into our laundry room, he just followed Pipke.
When we sat together on the garden bench, or my hubby took a nap on the lawn with Pipke, he was always in the neighborhood. He became almost part of our family.

After this “earthworm buffet” and a visit to the grain container in the garden house, Pipke usually slept for the rest of the morning in her dog bed.
That was then for us the appropriate time to do our errands or to go to town.
If my husband and I went together to the city, we mostly always turned back home before 3:00 PM. We didn't want her to be whole alone for too long.

When we came back home then, and she heard us opening the garage door – she started to quack very elated. She gave us every time such a warm welcome – we were every time glad to be back home!
From the moment that the backdoor was opened – she came dashing inside and chattered and chattered. 
Oh, she had so much to tell us. 
It seemed then as if she asked us where we had been so long. Sometimes it seemed rather a protest.
Then opa had to come outside for “worm hunting”, but first of all – he had to put on the right clothing!
For her this was: a “worn out jeans”. If he wore then something else – as protest, she pecked to his legs.
For me: the same rules were applied. She preferred me in worn out jeans. 
So – we both had a lot of them – we wore almost nothing else when we were at home. Except for Summer: then she had no problem at all with our bare legs. This was probably because she had seen them (in Summer) when she was very tinny, and she had imprinted them!
When we were home the whole day, she was very active. 
She often called us to come outside, and then she went immediately to the garden house to eat there. She liked it very much that we pretended to be eating with her by making smacking noises.
We could really have fun when she was in a playful mood. Then it seemed as if she wanted to invite me to fly. I still can see her standing there so full of joy: then she looked at me – raised her head – bobbed a few times and ran to the right and to the left. She waited for me, and I said then: “let's fly Pipke”.  While I started to run – she jumped up half a meter high and followed me flying above the ground. She really liked to do this, then she was really thrilled.
When opa was working in the garden house at his bench, she wanted to be with him. So she sat under his bench while he was working. Sometimes the wood shreds even fell on her head – but she didn't mind. She had no problem with it, she only wanted to be with him. She could become really angry because he sometimes closed the door when he had something to do that could harm her.

I had to call her then to come to me, and I really had to comfort her, but after a few cuddles she had forgotten about it already. 
Thereafter, like a “good girl” she went to sleep in her dog bed.

During Summer, when the weather was good, my hubby took a nap in his easy chair on the lawn. 
She knew he would do so when the sun was shining.  
So – she settled on the lawn already, even before the easy chair was installed, waiting for him.


 Someone waiting for opa!
It was not only beautiful and endearing to see them both sleeping there, but it was also very funny to hear!

At times my hubby started to snore, and then you could see that Pipke was annoyed by his snoring. She then opened one eye – while she kept her beak between her feathers – or sometimes she raised her head and looked up to opa. 
It seemed almost as if she was thinking then: “now that's enough, you snorer!”
I often came closer to enjoy this scene fully! 
Without the noise this lovely scene wasn't complete!
I even filmed it and took pictures of it.
Only the view. 
Of course these were no pictures of my hubby looking at his best: with wide open mouth – not even mentioning the noise – it seemed almost as if he was sawing a heavy trunk through.

However - this chapter would not be complete if I did not add this 'funny' scene with 'sound'! 

In better times!
Pipke and opa taking a nap.
Enjoy!


Next time we will go further with: Normal Days in Pipke's Life part 2. 

Bye, bye! 

Maybe a little naughty of us. 
Hope you could have a good laugh



Monday, May 25, 2015

A Dangerous Invasion on Top

Again, we were relieved that Pipke was safe. But alas also this time - that relieve didn't last long.
As if it hadn't been enough, a new problem suddenly appeared on the horizon.
This time, the danger came from the outside world.

The invisible enemy “Bird Flu” had invaded our country!

First there was only a mild action from the government. To prevent that our birds had contact with wild birds we had to cover their pens with nets. Because of the uninvited visit of the cat we didn't have to do that anymore, we'd already done that.
Unfortunately - this action couldn't stop the virus, it spread more and more. 
Not long thereafter the government had to take drastic measures. 
On the news broadcasting on TV we could see that many poultry farmers had to slaughter their whole life stock as precautionary measure to prevent the flu would spread widely.
Now - we already got to the point that in our nearby villages, ordinary people - hobbyists - who kept poultry in their garden, had to fill in a document. They even had to declare how many birds they kept, so the government could control how many birds there were in case they had to slaughter again.
Eventually – after some time – we received such a letter too, but we never filled it in - because we were afraid for what would happen to Pipke.

Then - only a few weeks later they even started to kill animals which were kept as pets!
This shows the way it went! 
I warn you, not such pleasant scenes to watch!
(The Dutch text on this film says: The culling. You have build something during 10 years. Within 10 minutes it's destroyed. At 5: 24 minutes you see the sad result. Thereafter, the disinfection follows. Was this really necessary? According the Dutch government this was strictly necessary to prevent further expansion of the classic bird flu.)

- It was actually all so “senseless"! These birds were no threat at all – they didn't get in contact with wild birds. “Wild birds” were the evildoers, but – of course it's not possible to kill “all” wild birds!
In fact, the poultry farmers caused the biggest problem. They keep too many birds concentrated at one place, so the virus could develop and spread there more easily.
Those places actually were a real feast for the virus. (By matter of speech, for them it was: a warm buffet 'all – you - can - eat'!)

Not long thereafter, we saw the most gruesome images on TV. They showed a man - also a hobbyist who kept Peacocks - defending his animals to prevent them from being slaughtered.
He even crawled on top of the roof of his house with his Peacocks. He was really desperate. Some of the animals were shot down, but others could escape.
Many people protested against this cruelty. It had a great impact on people who had seen it on TV all over the country, and especially - on those who lived in this man's neighborhood. They even protested fiercely on TV.
However, this story had “one” happy outcome!
After several weeks the Bird Flu had weakened and there was no longer danger – when suddenly the escaped Peacocks returned to their pen by themselves.
All those weeks they had hidden in the bushes. It seemed almost as if they knew that it was safe now. This event was even broadcasted on TV, but - it was a happy reunion with a bitter aftertaste.
Defenseless animals had been killed, although it could have been avoided.
They were the victims of the system, a system that takes unnecessary measures.
There had even arisen dissension among the veterinarians on this approach to solve the problem.
Some had *real doubts if this was the right way to deal with this problem.
I think - to hear *this fact – after your own pets had been slaughtered - it must have been very hard - even unbearable!
Eventually the outbreak of the avian flu virus of 2003 became a disaster year, not only for poultry but also for many unlucky pet birds in the Netherlands and also Belgium.
I didn't want to think about the fact that this could have happened to Pipke!
Luckily …

- This was it for now!
Unfortunately not such a pretty story.
Next time I will continue with something joyful.
Then I will describe: 'Normal Days in Pipke's Life'.
Believe me, it was never boring.
Thanks for reading and till soon! 
Bye, bye!


PS: today it would have been her twentieth birthday!
It would have been a miracle if she had reached this age.
Time flies.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

On the Roller Coaster & Mating season 2003

Many question marks – many worries.
Because Pipke had already so many health problems the previous years,

to make the winters more comfortable for her, my hubby made her a new little cottage. 

This time, it became a luxurious place: one with a heat lamp on the ceiling.

On the floor we installed her food tray and a small bowl with her drinking water.

From the moment it got cold, we switched on the lamp.

^
 Her new cubby-hole.

You could see she really enjoyed the warmth.  
She always remained underneath it until … one day … one of our neighbors their cat had discovered the warm place. On a very cold freezing morning we found Pipke in her half frozen pond – while the cat slept under the warmth lamp!

The rascal! Why did she not sleep at her home!

Now we had to do something to prevent this. This wasn't the cat's sleeping place but Pipke's. So we took action.

The very same day we went to the garden center to buy nets (those that are used for covering fruit trees) and we covered the whole pen with it.

Now she could be at ease and sleep where she wanted.

It was now end December 2002, and for the third year in a row we were visiting the vet again.

He still couldn't find out what caused her problem.

We asked him: “what do you think will happen in the next mating season” and he told us: “that she would no longer lay eggs”. The hormonal treatment had made this irreversible.

Actually – we were very surprised to hear this!

We were in the assumption that the injection was only effective for one year.

In fact, we'd misunderstood this and only now we realized that she would never lay eggs again.

We were now very worried. How would she behave now that she couldn't lay eggs anymore.
We hoped this would not change her attitude towards us. 
*****
Mating Season 2003.

It was Spring now and although, this new season, her situation was completely different, we were very surprised to discover that it seemed as if nothing had changed.
Already from the beginning – she started to make nests like she had done before. She wanted to mate, so – I had to cuddle her a lot.
We were wondering if an egg would follow now.
And just like all the years before, we made nests together and she went to breed on it.
We made many nests – and while she sat there brooding – you could hear her chatter away. It seemed as if she was trying to lay an egg – we even saw her pressing.


Our heart ached when we saw and heard this. She tried so hard – but without result.
Afterwards, you could see that she'd become really disappointed and even discouraged.
I tried to comfort her then. I spent as much time with her as I could – but at the end of this mating season she really became almost apathetic.
Ho … we felt so guilty now. We almost regretted that we had agreed with the hormonal treatment.
Now she was no longer “exhausted” from laying eggs – but she'd become “frustrated” that she could no longer lay eggs.
On top of that there was also the moult who followed each time shortly afterwards the breeding season. 





Moult: tough time!
It came all in such a short  period of time.
We couldn't have foreseen this. We had only done what we thought would be in her interest!
That August … the same thing happened ... and for the rest of her life – August and January - would become very stressful months for the three of us.
Every time around the same date – the same thing happened, we almost lost count of the visits to the vet, but we could follow it very well with the vet's bills.

Better times 
When (a few years later) acquaintances  of ours heard the amount of the bills they said: “but - you could have made a beautiful journey with that sum!” Oh, they would rather have done that, than having to spend so much money on a silly duck!
We didn't react to this comment – we said nothing – we just had our own thoughts about it!
Of course they didn't know Pipke, and surely, not everyone loves animals as much as we do.
Now I know one thing: the attitude of people towards animals shows “who” they really are, and believe me, there exist very selfish people.
In this respect James Herriot could not put it more beautiful and better into words. I quote:
 “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of people”.

With these words he hit the nail on the head!


(From now on, I am going to try to skip as much as possible all the next illness periods, I don't want them to predominate her story. Maybe it was already too much. There were also good periods and happy times in her life.)


Luckily Pipke was healthy again, but then - suddenly a new problem of a whole different magnitude appeared on the horizon.
It became one of an enormous magnitude, it would have the whole world in its grip.
What that problem was I will tell you in the next chapter. 
Then I continue with: A Dangerous Invasion on Top.


Thanks for reading     



Bye, bye!


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