Duck Boot

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Project Description

Duck Boot

Giclée print on mounted canvas
Edition of 300 S/N
Image: 9″ x 6″

One evening, a couple of years ago, my daughter Tracy called to tell me that she had found an abandoned baby mallard duck lying in a mud puddle, nearly dead. I explained to her that the duck was probably sick or crippled and was probably not going to make it anyway, and therefore abandoned. She said, “But Daddy, I know that you could save him.” She sounded pathetic, so I drove out to the beach and picked up this tiny, greasy wet handful of what would later become fluff, stopped at the drugstore and bought some Pedialite, and for the next several hours nursed a duck. (After I had dried him with my wife Deb’s hair dryer.)

The next day the ball of fluff was making small sounds and trying to stand up. I realized then that he had a crippled, deformed leg. I fed him some bits of pasta and later I bought some meal worms at the pet store which he gobbled up, and day by day he got stronger. We put him in some water in the sink but he could only paddle in a circle, since his left leg didn’t work. Deb began to do “duck therapy” on his crippled leg, gently pulling and massaging, and before long he was able to limp about and swim in more or less a straight line. In the meantime, Tracy named him Quigley.

Little Quigley imprinted on our Black Lab, Spooker, and they became best buddies. Spooker was a bit confused at first, since she had spent eleven years as a hunting retriever. She would look at me as if to ask, “Why is this DUCK following me around and climbing on me?” But she adopted Quigley and for awhile I am sure that he thought he was a dog, limping along after her and snuggling with her when she would lie down. I realized then that I had some great photo opportunities and painting subjects, so I did a painting of Quig in every kind of container I could think of, including a crock, a shotgun shell box, a tobacco tin, a Wedgewood bowl and even my hunting boot. “Duck Boot” and “Duck Soup” are two of my favorites, and I have reproduced them as Giclée prints.

About a month after we had Quigley, some friends who had just ordered a shipment of baby mallards for their farm pond, gave us a companion for Quigley, whom we named AFLAC, after the duck on the TV commercials. They are now three year old drake (boys) mallards and they are part of the family. After AFLAC arrived, Quig realized that he was a duck and he quit pestering Spooker. Needless to say, I am no longer a duck hunter.

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