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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lemon The Duck, Guest Post

I admit it. A duck runs my life---and I love it!
Lemon the Duck lives in my house. She bosses me around, keeps me in line, and always gets the last quack in a conversation. When I need to leave Lemon at home for awhile, she lets me know: This is not egg-ceptable. As soon as she hears my car pull into the driveway she’s calling for me---loudly, as if to say, “Where the quackers have YOU been?”

At the quack of dawn, Lemon demands her bath and in the summer she insists I take her swimming in the river behind my house. Her egg-citement is unmistakable. She wags her tail feathers and quacks at the sight of water, urging me to hurry and catch up. How do I know all this? Over the years I’ve become fluent in “Pekin duck.”

In many ways Lemon is like other ducks, but she’s also very different. In 2006, she hatched in my Kindergarten classroom with neurological symptoms similar to my father’s Multiple Sclerosis.
 
Lemon is unable to balance or waddle like her other feathered friends, but this duck doesn’t let her disability keep her down. Named for her soft yellow down that reminded me of my grandmother's lemon meringue pie, Lemon has always had a spunkiness about her and a desire to live life to the fullest, no matter what the challenges may be.

Lemon lives with me in my house and comes to school with me each day. As a duckling I kept her snuggly warm in a fanny pack, her little head poking out ,watching my students. Lemon imprinted on me and the children. Today, she thinks of me as her “mate” and children as her ducklings.
 
You might wonder, what kind of life could a disabled duck have? Well, Lemon is loving life. She oozes spunk and zestiness. Yes, she needs a lot of help, but she’s far from helpless. Caring for my dad taught me that being disabled does not mean misery. It’s allowed me to “tune in” and give Lemon the highest quality of life possible---the life she deserves.

It’s important to me that my little duck has a happy, stimulating life. I take Lemon just about everywhere. When we go for walks, she rides in a baby carriage so she can see everything.
 
Some people do a double take and ask, “Is that a real duck?”

“Of course!” I tell them, “A fake duck in a baby stroller would just be silly.”

Determined to do things her way, Lemon uses any leverage she can to try and stand. When she does prop herself up, a few seconds later she’s down again. But it’s never stopped her from trying.

How do you get a duck to stand up? It’s not easy. But we found a way with a dog life vest and a homemade stand. With her feet firmly on the ground, her body language said it all--This is egg-cellent! She could preen her feathers, muck around in the grass, and strengthen her legs.

Soon, standing wasn’t enough. She wanted to walk. A duck scooter is what she needed, but no one makes wheels for ducks. We made our own: PVC piping, coaster wheels, a mesh sling, and suddenly, Voila! You’ve got yourself a Lemobile! Now, Lemon zooms around and demands attention from her human flock, all on her own. She’s a ducky Diva.
 
Out of respect for people with disabilities, children are often encouraged not to stare or ask questions. Lemon provides a safe way for kids to explore and talk about what they might not understand; to connect with someone (even a duck) with a disability. Lemon shows those around her that we’re all unique and special in our own way and we all deserve to have the highest quality of life possible---no matter what our challenges may be.

Lemon’s interest in people is what first catches their attention, not her disability. They get right down on the floor next to her in her Lemobile. They talk to her and gently stroke her feathers. She tilts her head, softly quacks her replies. She peers right into their eyes as if she understands. Lemon is even a natural for pet assisted therapy.

My children’s book, Lemon the Duck, allows me to share Lemon’s story and honor my father, in my own way. Lemon the Duck is dedicated to him. I donate all of my proceeds to the MS Society and Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary.

Lemon’s neurological disorder is progressive, like my father’s MS. There is no cure. Someday she won’t be able to swim on her own and I’ll need to hold her in the water. But as long as Lemon’s willing, so am I.
 
I often hear, “Lemon is lucky to have you.” And yes, she’s alive and happy, in part because of me. But truly I’m the lucky one to have her in my life. I get to see how just by being herself Lemon touches people’s lives and inspires them.

We’ve met thousands of people, many with special needs of their own. Lemon connects with every one of them. We visited with one child who was born without arms. I held Lemon up to his cheek so he could feel her fluffy feathers, then he petted Lemon with his bare feet.

There are numerous occations where Lemon has touched the lives of thoose she meets. I’ve gotten to experienced all those amazing little moments---all because of a little duck, named Lemon.

You can learn more about Ellen on the following sites:

Lemon The Duck

Lemon on Youtube

Lemon's Blog

Lemon on Facebook

You can even listen to Lemon the Duck read aloud.

Oskar & I think that Lemon & Laura are some  super cool peeps.  Stop by Lemon The Duck to learn more.

If you have a guest post that you are interested sharing with the Pet Blogs United audience, drop me a line at PBU at comcast dot net.

16 comments:

Lovable Lily said...

What a beautiful story this morning! Lemon the Duck is TRULY an inspiration. You have warmed our hearts this morning.

Hugs,
Lily Belle

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Wow, what an awesome post! Just think of all the lessons so many little peeps can learn from Lemon. Kudos to Ellen for all she has done and is doing for Lemon.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz said...

Talk about Nubbin Wiggles...we was all wiggling reading this wonderful story and Teri said she will visit the links you provided and share your loverly post!

Nerissa said...

Lemon is lovely. How wonderful it is that she found you. purrs

Rama's Mama said...

That was such a heartwarming story. I enjoyed it so much. Thank you for sharing.

meowmeowmans said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for introducing us to amazing Lemon and Ellen. How fortunate that they found each other, and that they are having such a positive effect on the world around them. :)

browndogcbr said...

Hi Y'all,

What a wonderful story! Lemon is one duck I'll always remember.

Hope y'all are having a great week!

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

Carolyn said...

Just love this story! So heartwarming. Am sharing on facebook :))

Hoke said...

Yay for Lemon!!! We love him!!

Hoke said...

Yay for Lemon!!! We love him!!

Hoke said...

Yay for Lemon!!! We love him!!

The Cat From Hell said...

What a great story! Me is going to has to go and meet Lemon. One of my human brothers is disabled and he works as a advocate for peoples with disabilities. He would Love Lemon!
Thanks yous for sharing!
Kisses
nellie

julesfredrick said...

Oh, I just LOVE Lemon!!! Thank you for sharing. I will read her book to the kiddies at my library!

Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog said...

Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog and I LOVE Lemon the Duck and Laura-- they do beautiful work to help others. ARF-A-Roo and a Quack!

Rykers Boyz n Allie said...

Wow, that is so very very cool! And how wonderful that Ellen adopted Lemon!

Kimberly Mills said...

How encouraging! I just got a duckling with the same problem!

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