Mickey & her mongrel ‘besties’: the duck that’s dogs’ best friend
29 November 2013
An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Steamships Short Story Award
AS FAR AS DUCKS GO, Mickey is not much of a looker. Some might say she’s quite dirty and unkempt. However, as far as luck and fortune goes, well, she’s got it all.
Mickey was gifted to the Gimife family of 13/16 Bungi Street, West Goroka, two years ago. She was to be raised for meat but her downy duckling garb and disarming charm melted the family’s heart and she was bestowed with a name, put in a box and fawned over, even to this day.
She struts around the yard honking with the arrogance of one who knows she has the loyalty and unconditional love of an entire household. This includes her “besties” - Taylor, Broney and Brownie - three dogs of unknown breed who have adopted her as an honorary canine and would do anything for her, including defending her against bigger and stronger neighbourhood dogs.
Mickey and Taylor were brought in together as babes and introduced to Broney and Brownie who, together with Taylor, initiated Mickey into the ways of the dog. From the beginning, as with the human family, Mickey’s charm disarmed the dogs and even Taylor could not begrudge her the title of family favourite.
In fact, of all the dogs Taylor has a special bond with Mickey and lets her get away with antics that would have the other two nipping or growling at her (like eating the best morsels from her plate). Even as a puppy, Taylor couldn’t stand being without Mickey and would sneak over to where she was boarded and release her so that they could hang around together.
Mickey, however, is not all arrogance and snobbery; she has earned the loyalty of her canine family through loving grooming services where she spends time making short work of ticks from their bodies and fighting brave aerial battles when they go foraging into the neighbourhood borders to show territorial dominance.
On the nights when the moon is full and the dogs decide to sing, tuneless bursts of honks blast through the melodic howls but rather than being perturbed her mates accept her crude contribution and allow her into their circle of the moon song for they know her heart, they understand that this is her expression of love and allegiance to their clan.
Because she has been coddled since she was a duckling and protected by both human and canine family members, Mickey has a false sense of security and believes she is as good a dog as any on the street and that everyone loves her.
This has led her into many scrapes that her family has had to rescue her from, yet there is a naiveté that blinds her to the dangers of life. She greets every situation with perpetual hope and cheerfulness, certain that her feathery frame and glaring honk will win everyone over.
Last week this naiveté nearly got her killed. It was around two in the afternoon and the humidity had everyone around the compound sapped of energy except Mickey of course. She waddled around looking for someone to play with but neither human nor canine would give her the time of day; all were resting in the house or under it trying to seek relief from the stifling air.
Giving up she honked her way over to the back yard garden where the compost is (her favourite foraging place) and started to dig around. To her delight she found a hole in the fence and behold there were two dogs that would surely play with her! Honking in greeting she started waddling over encouraged by their alertness and baring of teeth.
Fortunately for her, Brownie was resting in an alcove near enough the garden to see what was happening. With a curt bark to the other two to alert them to the danger, she dashed after Mickey arching around to come between her and the two fast approaching attack mode neighbours. As she was distracting the assailants, Broney and Taylor raced to either side of Mickey and literally hefted her back into their yard depositing her on the compost heap and rushing back to help Brownie herd of the enemy.
They then stood guard over their side of the fence arguing ferociously with the attackers until the humans who had observed all this came running to close and Mickey proof it.
Oh the scolding that dazed Mickey got from her siblings; it was so comical it had the humans bending over laughing till their sides hurt and tears streamed from their faces but it was no joke to the dogs -they had nearly lost their beloved duck.
When it was over chastened Mickey slunk after the three under the house to rest quietly with them as they watched over her with disapproving yet relieved glances probably thankful that the adventures of another Mickey episode was over and wondering what the next would be.
Thank you all. Although I don't have any pets of my own, my neighbours have an assorted collection and stories happen every day.
Posted by: Emma Wakpi | 03 December 2013 at 10:24 AM
Good stuff. Enjoyed reading it very.
Posted by: Michael Dom | 29 November 2013 at 12:18 PM
Great story! I enjoy reading animal adventures and this one is a great read!
Posted by: Steven Gimbo | 29 November 2013 at 11:12 AM
With great illustrations it would make a terrific children's book
Posted by: Daniel Doyle | 29 November 2013 at 09:33 AM
What a good read, Emma.Well done!
Posted by: Robin Lillicrapp | 29 November 2013 at 06:49 AM
Lovely story, Emma, well told.
Reminds me of my brother's pet, Ducky Lucky, which he used to bath in a large basin in our backyard. We loved her big eggs and she eventually died of old-age.
Posted by: Mrs Barbara Short | 29 November 2013 at 06:28 AM