Other than Ace’s periodic visits, there’s probably nothing residents of Arbor Acres — a retirement community in Winston-Salem — like better than the ducks that waddle and swim in and around the large pond that graces the acreage.
Actually, even though Ace has some pretty big time fans there, the ducks probably rate higher – at least in the eyes of some residents, including my own mother (that’s her to the left, explanation to follow). She, I think it’s safe to say, prefers watching ducks outside her window to having a dog inside her room.
On at least one occasion, she harbored some fugitive newborn ducks who, like all newborn ducks, needed a little protection from the bigger creatures, like foxes and turtles, who tend to snatch them away.
Because of that, the duck population at Arbor Acres sometimes dwindles down to a precious few, and the residents who like to watch them, feed them, and sometimes name them, worry about losing the closest thing many of them have to pets.
(Dogs are allowed there, but only a handful of residents have them.)
Instead, most often, they enjoy the animals nature provides, the ducks, the geese, the fish in the pond and the two blue herons that call the area around the pond home for much of the year.
Sometimes though, even nature needs a hand.
And that’s where Bo Bowers came in.
Bo, who moved into the community in March, brought with him some duck-raising skills, and when the duck census recently dropped he made a deal with the administration — if they provided materials to build the pens, he’d buy some baby ducks and raise them until they were big enough to survive on their own.
He ordered 16 baby ducklings — of five different breeds — through a catalog. They were 12 days old when they were delivered, and he started feeding them in the 4-foot by 12-foot cage, complete with swimming pool, set up behind his home.
Last month, in a ceremony attended by many residents, he “launched” his babies, releasing them into the pond as residents, staff and at least one TV news outfit looked on. Many of the ducks, by then, had been named after residents, including one named Jo, after my mother.
Bowers has been raising fowl — including some blue ribbon winners — almost his whole life, he said. “They are like my children.”
Wake up early enough and you can see Bowers, tall and gangly, striding down a sidewalk with the still-growing ducks following him. He puts out food, talks to them, takes a count to make sure everyone’s still there.
Two of the ducks are of a breed called white crested.
They have tufts of feathers on their head, like bouffant hairdos — quackfros, we called them. There are black ones, brown ones and silvery blue ones, and, diverse group that they are, they all, after several weeks, still hang together – a pack, as it were.
At least two residents warned me to keep Ace away from the ducks, though he has little interest other than watching them.
I’m pretty sure dogs don’t rule at Arbor Acres. Ducks do.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, aging, animals, arbor acres, community, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, ducks, ducky, herons, nature, north carolina, ohmidog!, pets, photography, pond, retirement, road trip, wildlife, winston-salem
Yesterday’s Washington Post had a great series of photos depicting the rescue of a yellow Lab who wandered into an icy pond in Potomac.
A neighbor spotted the dog — named Tully — out his kitchen window and called 911. Rescuers arrived within minutes, cut through a fence and plunged in after him as the dog’s family watched.
The four-year old dog was worn out by then and unable to hoist himself out, according to his owner, Bruce Stewart, whose 14-year-old son encouraged the dog from shore: “Hold on there, buddy! You’re a good boy!”
Rashad Surratt, a firefighter, entered the pond and Tully paddled toward him. The rescuer wrapped his arms and a harness around the dog, who seemed happy to get a hand. “He just gave up,” Surratt said Saturday. “He was really, really tired.”
Other firefighters were able to help pull Tully across the ice and get him to the shore. Tully was wrapped in coats and blankets, loaded onto a toboggan and pulled home by firefighters and residents. To see all the photos, visit the Post’s photo gallery.
Stewart, an executive at text-messaging company kgb, said Tully apparently walked right through his electronic fence, which had been disabled by the snow.
(Photo: Lea Thompson / Washington Post)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 15th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: blizzard, bruce stewart, firefighters, ice, icy, lab, maryland, news, photos, pond, potomac, rashad surratt, rescue, snow, tully, washington post, weather, winter, yellow labrador
Gollum, the Italian greyhound whose owner died trying to save her other two dogs from an icy pond in Fort Worth, was found yesterday, not far from her home.
Andrea Benua, 34, died Monday night after plunging into an icy pond to rescue her other two dogs.
Gollum was spotted barking near the pond, and led authorities to where his owner drowned. As his owner’s body was retrieved from the pond Gollum disappeared, sparking an effort by friends and family of Benua to find him.
The SPCA of Texas offered a reward of $ 5,000 for the return of Gollum,
On Friday, a builder working near the Benua home spotted Gollum and returned him to the Benua’s house, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andrea benua, dallas, dogs, drowning, fort worth, found, gollum, icy pond, italian greyhoud, located, news, pond, recovered, returned, search, texas, victim
The search continued yesterday for Gollum, a small Italian Greyhound whose owner died trying to save him and her other two dogs from an icy pond in Texas.
Police say the other two dogs and their owner, Andrea Benua, drowned in the pond Monday.
Gollum is believed not to have dronwned,but he disappeared after the accident. Benua’s family and friends are trying to find him, they say, because it’s what Benua would have wanted. Benua and her husband had no children, only the dogs, WFAA in Dallas-Fort Worth reports.
Benua frequently donated to animal shelters and her friends and family asked that anyone wishing to honor her memory do the same.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: andrea benua, dallas, dogs, drowned, drowning, drowns, fort worth, gollum, ice, italian greyhound, pond, rescue, save, search, texas, trying, video
Police in Massachussetts are hoping a Saint Bernard might help them solve the mystery of his owner’s disappearance.
Police are searching for an elderly man who walked the Saint Bernard every morning near Accord Pond, a reservoir that supplies water to several South Shore communities.
The dog showed up alone Wednesday at a Chili’s restaurant, where a manager called police.
Last week, police let the dog loose in the woods near the pond, hoping he would lead them to a house, according to a Boston Globe article. But he just wandered around the area. On Wednesday, divers searched Accord Pond for nearly four hours, but did not find anything.
Since then, Leslie Badger, an animal control officer in Hingam, Mass., has been taking the dog around town, in hopes somebody might recognize him and be able to provide some clues to his owner’s identity.
Many people in the area saw the man walking the dog early in the morning on streets near the pond. But authorities haven’t found any one who knows his name and address.
Police are considering the possibility that the man abandoned the dog. Authorities say the dog is visibly upset, and that many have called offering to adopt him.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accord pond, disappearance, dog, dogwalker, hingam, man, missing, mystery, news, ohmidog!, owner, police, pond, saint bernard, search, south shore, walker
In a reversal of roles, humans rescued a 16-month-old St. Bernard from freezing weather.
The dog, named Duke, escaped from his yard and ended up frozen to the ice on a pond at a golf course near Billings, Montana.
A maintenance worker at the Peter Yegen Jr. Golf Club, spotted the dog at about 9 a.m. Friday. Two firefighters on a sled managed to reach the shivering dog, breaking the ice around his tail with a mallet, and hauling the dog ashore — along with the chunk of ice still attached to him.
Rescuers believe that Duke, who weights nearly 120 pounds, fell through the ice on the pond sometime during the night and, after pulling himself out, sat on the ice and became frozen to it, according to an Associated Press account.
Duke was taken to Big Sky Pet Center, where he was listed in good condition after being de-iced and warmed up under a blow dryer.