A carpenter built our backyard fence of tall wooden slats about four inches apart with a flat surface on top where the birds perch and the squirrels hang out when tired of hopping from one tree to another. Rambling roses, trumpet vines, and an assortment of other climbers soften the wood making it look like a vertical flower bed pleasing to the eye. I peer through the cracks to check on the mother duck sitting peacefully on her basket of eggs. I wonder how long it takes a duckling to hatch and if she’s going to act like a shrew around her babies and not let a big guy like Yours Truly play with the little darlings or be a generous sort who shares her babies and maybe even tires of all the peeping and needs a babysitter to pick up the slack of protecting them. This hefty Mastiff could teach them to swim in our lily pond. Suddenly, I see a coyote walking toward her as big as you please. When the poor darling gets a gander of his teeth, she flaps her wings and honks from knowing she’s about to be eaten along with her ducklings near ready to hatch as soon as mother nature thinks it’s time for them to step outside and join the population.

This big boy crashes through the wooden slats and tackles the coyote not two steps from my girl nearly dead and draped over her eggs. I drag his sorry self to the woods and maul him until there’s not much left but a cry for mercy and a promise to steer clear of my family. Yeah, the raggedy thing called them ‘my family’ which made me feel puffed up right before I was about to help him inhale his last breath. A few words and a promise to leave the neighborhood for good bring him clemency. I toss the limp rag of a wolf’s progeny into the bushes and watch him hightail it to the woods where he belongs with the rest of his pack, no doubt foraging through the golf course trash bins where rich golfers throw their hamburger remains or whatever foods they brought onto the grass carpet designed for a golfer’s pleasure. They also felt the need to toss a few coyotes into the mix to keep the golf course tidy from the vermin. Rich people don’t think further than their own desires. Their ignorance wreaks havoc with the eco-system now abundant with more predators than tiny rodents, resulting in coyotes meandering into the neighbors’ yards to sniff out the domestic animals to eat for snacks.  

I turn my attention to the frightened mother-to-be. She remains limp. I nudge her gently to rev her heart into beating again while at the same time prying open her beak to breathe some air into her lungs. The Threads and Kahu appear looking worried the mother will die before the babies have a chance to take a peek at the violent world outside. Such a bone-chilling scenario causes this dog to have mixed feelings over being born into a place where your life isn’t worth much more than somebody’s meal. I keep pumping air into her beak and nudging her heart. Kahu dials his tiny phone and a few minutes later, the vet appears, not a second too soon, calming Mrs. Thread from wringing her hands and whimpering like she gave birth to the eggs herself. I step back while the vet places a stethoscope on the patient’s heart. I see her feathers moving, but unfortunately, the vet tells the Threads she appears to be suffering from PTSD and in need of counselling. She’ll probably be turning to Yours Truly for help if the Threads don’t have the imagination to hire an animal communicator like Alice Hanigan.

I lay my paw gently over the twins while breathing some hot air on their coverings. Mrs. Thread finally collects herself and puts a tiny blanket the size of a tea towel to help keep them warm. I poke my nose underneath and continue fanning them with warm air. The vet holds the duck in her arms and talks sweetly to her, calls her Mabel. All my dreams of being a dad like Kahu could any second blow away on a harsh breeze if Mabel doesn’t pull herself together.  

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