Pet of the Day

September 3, 1998

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Clotilde and Pio Pis, the Pet of the Day
Name: Clotilde / Pio Pis
Age: One year old
Gender: Male / Female
Breed: Peking Ducks
Home: Bologna, Italy
 
   Everything began in July 1997: an original "birthday gift" for Valeria, we bought two one-week-old ducklings, with absolutely no previous knowledge about the right way to "manage" them. They were simply so small, cute, and tender, fluffy yellow balls, that when you looked at them you could not resist the urge to caress and fondle them, and speak silly baby words to them!!!

    So August, 2nd, 1997 is the official date of entry in our garden of these nice "strangers"! They had to be nicknamed somehow: Valeria chose for them the "official" names of Clotilde and Pio Pis, from the characters (feminine and masculine) of a strange and beautiful book "Il destino si chiama Clotilde", by G.Guareschi

    We built a small enclosure to protect them from cats and other animals, complete with a wood "home" with a door, where they would obediently retire at sunset, and "swimming-pool," to drink and swim (you cannot possibly overstate the real love of ducks of any age toward water...!). They were so small that they could bathe and swim around in a simple plastic food-container of water!

    At the end of August, Pio and Clo began to explore the whole garden, with special attention to the small pond (2 square meters!!). You would not believe the speed of growth of ducklings in this period of their life! They almost literally grow under your eyes, and can double their size in a matter of two weeks: so, the original "home" didn't fit anymore. And a lot of hard work (and money) went in the design and building of a brand-new luxury duck-home, made of painted wood, with insulated walls, moving windows, sliding doors, pivoting double-use door/entry ladder, complete with electrical lighting and heating, and a timer to turn them on and off...

    Believe it or not, our friends, right from the beginning, have never used this wonderful facility, designed along the best guidelines we could find in the books, without a firm invitation from our side: to the point that, today, they only go inside because we supply them food in this "house"! Anyway, they become more and more confident, always looking for human company, and developed a special fondness for tomatoes, that they eat avidly directly from one's hands. We have taught them to jump to reach food in our hands: and they are unbelievably funny at this!!!

    If you own pets, you know to which extent one goes in order to make them happy; since we had to keep them away from our small ornamental garden pond, after two instances when they played havoc with every bit of vegetable and animal life in it, we felt a bit guilty of deprivating our little friends of a place to swim and bathe. We bought one of those inflatable swimming pools for children...our ducks simply loved it! It is impossible to describe how funny it is to see two ducks happily bathing and feasting: at the end, almost half of the water has been thrown out on the surrounding grass!!! Here you can see them sleeping while floating in the mini-swimming pool.

    See their website for more of their story.
 

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