Tag Archives: sanctuary

Goodbye Lester Leroy | Ducks and Clucks


We always hope that rescue animals will move on to new homes once they are rehabilitated. Handicapped or chronically ill animals are harder to place, though, and that is why there are sanctuaries. These pets often have a shorter life span, but like all pets, they eventually grow old and then they die. Those of us who provide sanctuary know this, but it isn’t any easier for us when we lose these pets.

Ducks and Clucks is a rescue and sanctuary that used to be in Seattle but is now in Salt Lake City. There was a tragic loss there yesterday, but I thought I would first pass along this story about Lester Leroy, who also deserves to be remembered. I’m just going to show you a couple photos I stole from her, but you really should follow this link to Tiffany’s actual story.

Goodbye Lester Leroy.

Lester Leroy got around pretty well after physical therapy. He came into rescue with an infected leg.

He managed to attract the attention of another handicapped duck named Danny girl. What a cute couple!

Danny girl and Lester Leroy both needed help in and out of their pool. Not a big problem for a first class care facility.

As Lester aged, the problems would come and go, but mostly he was happy to spend quiet days with Danny girl.

Lester Leroy has left the room, but his story is a reminder that there are people who care, even about little lame ducks. That’s kind of nice, isn’t it?

All photos by Tiffany Young, Ducks and Clucks.


Daily Drama 30

Daily Drama 30

I was away for a couple days, and when I returned, Dobby kept his eye on me. He can see me in the living room from this vantage point.


Note the resident mallards.

Dobby was extra naughty to teach me a lesson.

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Boom! Crash! Garbage cans make a big noise!

So I rewarded him with a nice hot soaking tub. Also known as a wading pool.

In other news, a new Muscovy Maiden has officially joined the flock just a short ten days after her arrival and quarantine here. In comparison with the bullies I picked up from Pasado’s Safe Haven who took about five months to integrate, this is a stunning achievement. In fact, none of the mallard-derived domestic drakes (and including my gay Muscovy Drake, Romeo) are interested in a Muscovy hen, so she has been an uncomplicated addition. Plus, she easily passed muster with Winky, my Muscovy hen, who doesn’t seem to know she’s a duck, so no contest there.

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Carmen Miranda, crest up

Carmen Miranda, the new Muscovy hen, earned her name by flashing her crest readily and constantly, as if forming a question mark over her head at each new discovery. She is still young, a spring bird transitioning through her first year. She is very poised, but aggressive when appropriate. She has been very excited about joining this flock and convinced me that she could hold her own among them. She has a little story, and a duck friend and five hens who may join her here, sooner or later. I stopped asking questions when the words “stem cell” came up and seemed to hang in the air. At that point, I just asked what I can do to help.

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Romeo, front center, Carmen’s little white head behind pool

She must have been eyeing the pool from her pen, because she went directly to it and now spends a lot of time near the steps.

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Run! Godzilla is coming!

When Carmen emerged from her isolation pen, all the drakes charged in there to check out her food and small wading pool. I almost got a photo of them all milling around in there, but suddenly they came out almost as fast as they had gone in.

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Dobby had to check it out first, apparently.

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Norman the goose keeps an eye on little Carmen, center right of photo. Note the blurry crow landing to her right!

Carmen’s hen friends should pose no problems here, but I am concerned about the duck. My drakes will no doubt find a white Peking duck to be the most exciting thing at the farm since Cleopatra, my last remaining female Rouen. I rehomed her to bring peace to the farmyard. Carmen’s friend might as well be named Marilyn Monroe for all the excitement she will cause around her, yet I am reluctant to separate her from her friends. Carmen is already here (she had to have her wings clipped) and she suffered no separation anxiety, but I know not where poor Marilyn will end up. I can keep her here, in her own pen, indefinitely, but it is not a good long-term solution. Please let me know if you hear of a suitable home for her. And stay tuned for The Carmen Story, which will be written when it is time.

Foreground, LtoR: Vinny, Sal, Fabio, Emilio, Tony, Norman the goose, Shamrock, Boxcar, Cubicle the goose, & Boondock. Back behind the fence, LtoR: Carmen, Winky, & Romeo

The flock was pretty excited about getting into the yard, again. They were more excited about their freedom than the new duck, so it was a good time to let her out.

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The Lurker

Dobby just had to be in charge, though.

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Run! Godzilla is coming!

He kept rounding them up and putting them away, like a Border Collie being paid by the piece.

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The following day, Dobby is still watching me like a hawk.

Now that we are past the solstice, our early winter has backed off enough for fall weather to try again. With milder temperatures, dry ground, and even some sunny breakthroughs I was finally able to clean out the dovecote. I wish I had been able to do it earlier, before my December birthday, because my back has aged another year with the rest of me, and hauling out over 100 gallons of sodden wood chips set me back a bit. Fortunately, the Funny Farm has a bartender on staff. This no joking matter.

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Indian Ringneck Doves

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The hardest part is keeping them from breeding.

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They are so friendly, and the cooing is soothing.

I counted 21 in there but it’s not easy to feel confident about the count. There’s a pigeon in there, too.

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Dobby wanted to come in as much as I wanted to keep him OUT. That white dove is The Pirate’s mom.

Dobby was perturbed by my lingering in the dove area. He watched and “helped” for a long while, but I was later informed that he managed to register *3* complaints in the kitchen while I was occupied with Not For Dobby activities. Spending the day outdoors, but not with The Prince, is NOT APPROVED.

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“Sit? That’s so lame. How about this?”

I told him to sit for this photo, but he struck this pose instead. He stood there like this for quite a while.

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Harness schmarness

No day is complete without a trip to the front yard to eat corn, grass, and bamboo. As you can see, he suffered a terrible mishap out there: his harness is wonky. It was so dark by the time we got out there I didn’t manage to get his harness on correctly. He doesn’t seem to mind as much about that any more.

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Whiskey Sour, Specialty of the House

I wasn’t joking.

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The End

Luna Dovegood


There is a new bird in the kitchen!


The green cage on the far right is the newest addition to The Peanut Gallery

Dobby saw her immediately. She is in his territory and he disapproves.


“Nobody asked ME!”

Luna’s family is moving, but she is handicapped and the other birds started to pick on her, so she came to live at The Funny Farm.


She has started to exercise her wings in her new cage.

Luna can’t fly, and her beak needs periodic trimming, but she can hop up to her perches. My dove Pirate (dark red cage to the left) can fly, but she can’t walk. We’re hoping they will become friends. If they want to share a cage, I’ll get a bigger cage for them.


“If I close my eyes and wish really, really hard, maybe she’ll disappear. Why do we need more birds around here?”

In the evening, after “everyone” is through going in and out of the kitchen door, the bird cage doors open and they come out to play. Luna and Pirate will alternate evenings until I am certain they will get along.


Luna can hop up to those perches just fine.

She’s a friendly bird, and loves popcorn! She likes the mirrors I have given her, and coos to them.


Luna is quite sociable.

We don’t know why her beak grows this way, but I’ll have to keep it trimmed.


I’ve had to trim beaks on a couple quail, and a hen, too.

She seems a little lonely for her old family, but her new flock is noisy and happy and hard to ignore.


Popcorn, please!

I think she’ll be a fun addition to The Funny Farm!

Goodbye Ziggy

Goodbye Ziggy

One week ago I held Ziggy for the last time. It has been a summer of sadness, with many losses, both pets and humans. With each new loss, it feels as if I lose the others all over again. It occurs to me that while my little sanctuary is made up of all ages of homeless pets, more often these are older pets. Because of the different ways these homeless pets find their way to the Funny Farm, sometimes I have no idea how old a pet is until I see the walk, the stiffness, the hesitation and the slowing down that I feel in myself, now, as I age. I recognize the signs. So it was with Ziggy this past year. I could see a bit of weight loss, a few stray gray hairs, the little trot not quite as sprightly. And now he is gone.


Farewell, sweet Ziggy!

Some pets come to me as if by magic. Others I seek out. My little female guinea pig Jette was alone, her auntie having passed on, and I located Ziggy at a small rescue north of here. (There were two males and I often wonder what happened to the one I passed over.) Ziggy came home, got neutered, and went to live with Jette. She was in a long narrow cage, two cages, really, end-to-end, and she could really catch air in there! Recently, a very large guinea pig had arrived and grown and grown and grown and was now spending a lot of time outside that cage.


Jette and Ziggy and The Biggest Guinea Pig Ever!

Ziggy was quite athletic in those days. He spent a lot of time on top of his huts and roared back and forth in the long, long cage. I made him a suspended hay rack out of the leg of a pair of blue jeans. He liked it best once the hay was gone- he’d take a running leap up into the blue-jean tunnel and loll about up in there for hours. The “missing guinea pig” could be located by poking at the pudgy bulge in the tunnel. “Yep, he’s in there!”


The blue-jean tunnel can be seen to the right. Ziggy isn’t in there, he’s in the hut to the left. Another photobomb by Dobby.

Ziggy and Jette had some very good times. This was a photoshoot for a Papua Piig halloween mask contest.


Always the snacks. That’s Jette under the mask.

Ziggy was less cooperative than Jette.


See, I can knock it off just by tossing my head!

Here is Jette and Ziggy looking at the fancy sweatshirt that was the prize for the mask contest. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that they weren’t really the winners. The Great Big Guinea Pig actually won.

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Ziggy thought nothing of hopping up into a food basket. He had just enough long, long fur to make his bum look big and round. But not enough of it to create an inconvenient grooming obstacle.


Shaped like a baseball.

Jette and Ziggy lived together happily for a couple of years.


Happy Hanukkah!

Alas, not long after Hanukkah, Jette succumbed to one of her many respiratory problems and then Ziggy was alone. He began to taunt the Great Big Guinea Pig in the kitchen, and Dobby in turn began to click and stomp and let everyone know about the annoying little rodent in the intrusive cage in his kitchen.



Situations change quickly at the Funny Farm. Before you could say “poor lonely Ziggy,” I had agreed to provide sanctuary for two male guinea pigs, and a second pair came as fosters. Suddenly I had 5 male guinea pigs and The Dude Ranch was founded!


Little Ziggy spent lots of floor time with the others.

It was a lengthy process, but eventually they all got along well enough OUT of the cage, to be put INTO the cage. I have learned never to rush that process: not with guinea pigs, not with rabbits, chickens, and never with ducks.


Getting acquainted- floor time on neutral territory

And then they were five.

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That’s Ziggy in the foreground, then Stevie Ray, Ankhsheshonq, Frederick of Hollywood, and then Carl Sagan around the corner, just out of sight.

The Dude Ranch was the perfect environment for a widower pig. Ziggy loved to be held and petted. Visitors would reach toward the cage and the guinea pigs would scatter, diving into huts and pigloos. All except Ziggy, who came near to be touched. He was a trusting and confident pig, reliably pettable for small children. He was always my first choice for toenail clipping night. Might as well start with the easy one!


Ziggy snacks on cucumber.


Ziggy sits on broccoli.


Ziggy, still eating.







Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ziggy is centrally located at the feed trough.

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L to R: Stevie Ray, Frederick of Hollywood, Ziggy, Carl Sagan, and Ankhsheshonq

Yes, in fact they are constantly eating. Why do you ask?


Sharing lettuce and cilantro with Stevie Ray

Alas, summer sadness struck The Dude Ranch. One of the foster brothers, Ankhsheshonq, died suddenly. His brother Carl, who is healthy (other than needing eyedrops for cataracts) will be 7 years old in October. A very respectable old age for a guinea pig. I noted the fragility of little Ziggy, the guinea pig for whom I knew no birthdate, no age. He continued to join the stampede at the food trough, though. Until he didn’t.


L to R: Steve, Ziggy, Fred, and Carl

He spent a very quiet last day in my arms. He said goodbye to his friends, he drank a little water, but his time here was done. And The Dude Ranch is now three. They are subdued, but their friendship is strong, and the snacks keep coming.

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The Graveyard

It’s tough to be a sanctuary sometimes. So many homeless pets come here to live . . . and then to die. It’s what I do. I take in homeless pets. I can only take a few, but when they come here, they come home to stay. Until they leave.


It’s Official, for Real This Time!

It’s Official, for Real This Time!

Stacy’s Funny Farm is now exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3)! The effective date of exemption is way back on May 30, when I incorporated in Washington State. This is important news, but it is kind of boring to read about, so here’s something I’m sure you’ll like!


Dobby the Sun Worshipper

I’ll sneak a bit of Daily Drama in here, too. Three freeloaders visited Dobby’s swimming pool this morning. I end up with all sorts of used pets, but sometimes the local mallard invite themselves in. I’ve had mallards hunker down in the aviary if I leave the gate open, and then I have to shoo them out. I’ve never had more than 42 in the yard, though.


Three freeloading Mallards and one rubber ducky