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'I'm just taking the duck for a walk...'
WHEN Wayne O’Donnell takes his pet for a walk around his Hampshire town, the looks on people’s faces leave no doubts they think he’s quackers.
And there’s no ducking the issue, Boris isn’t the normal type of creature you’d expect to see loyally wandering along behind his owner, let alone sitting peacefully in the passenger seat of a car, enjoying a sip of beer in a bar or strolling along a Spanish beach.
But Wayne, from Romsey, insists that was part of the appeal of having an Aylesbury duck for a pet.
“People sort of look gobsmacked. They can’t work it out,” he said.
“But it’s the dogs that really can’t work it out and sit there and think ‘what are you?’, but he’s not worried at all by them.
“He doesn’t think he’s a duck.
“He is an unusual pet, but they’re very intelligent creatures. People say to me ‘why have you got a duck?’ and I say ‘why have you got a dog’?”
Wayne, 41, who works as a caravan technician, has had Boris – named after the village in Ireland where he first had a pet duck, until it was stolen by a postman – since he was a day-old hatchling.
And in the near-four years since, they have become inseparable, with one of the duck’s favourite tricks being to lie on his owner’s head.
When Wayne takes his pet for walks around town from his Portersbridge Street home, Boris happily waddles alongside him without the need for a lead to keep him under control.
He said: “I try to take him out for walks every day.
“It’s what attracted me to Romsey, because it’s a lot quieter and easier to take him out than it was when I lived in Bath.”
And not liking to be apart from his pet has even seen Wayne take Boris with him for a holiday in the Spanish resort of Sitges, near Barcelona.
He said: “I’ve got friends there and they didn’t believe I had a duck that I walked around with me, so I thought ‘right, I’ll prove it’.
“I hired a villa which was brilliant for him, but he stayed in two hotels in France on the drive down.
“It was brilliant in Sitges because I could take him everywhere – the streets are narrow so he could walk around, he even came on the beach.
“But before I left they wanted to treat him as if he was going in the food chain and test him for salmonella and all sorts.
“I said anyone who eats him deserves all they get – he’s a pet. Eventually the head of pet control said it was fine.”
And although Boris took to foreign travel like a duck to water, that’s the one thing he’s not so keen on.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t teach him how to swim,” said Wayne.
“I used to take him out on canal boats and he stayed on the deck because he doesn’t like getting in water.”