This was just after Gracie’s first swim at the Sanctuary on 10/31/14. As I had mentioned in a previous post, with the warmer weather the other day, a large handful of the smaller ducks didn’t want to come in for the night for the first time since the really cold months of winter, including Gracie. He was always in the last group ready to come in anyway, truly a strong show of his independence. On any other previous night, including the night following, all of the ducks would be near the garage door, waiting for the final roundup. But this night wasn’t to be like the others for my sweet Gracie. Although I made several attempts to coax the last group in, I was eventually, disappointedly unsuccessful. This was to be my first real night of worry in several months. Not knowing what exactly took place during the late night and early morning, I am left to only speculate. While I was walking the grounds to check to see that all of the babies had a safe night, I was ‘drawn’ to an area in the boys’ pen (a very large fenced in area encompassing part of the pond, a small island and a good piece of land where approximately 2-4 dozen overly aggressive males usually stay separated from the females, to keep the girls from getting beaten down) by an unusual guidance. It was by mere coincidence that I noticed a tiny, lifeless body butted up under a large leafless bush, as though he had crawled up there for cover. Instantly my heart turned inside out, as I knew from that moment, that my little angel had left this Earth, for the greatest of all places. In Heaven, he will again walk on two feet, which he hadn’t done since he lost his left leg at about three weeks of age, due to a snapper turtle at the Brighton Mill Pond. He was always my number one worry, which I truly never once minded, as there was not ONE night or day that passed, that I didn’t know where he was at some point in time. There were countless times in the late fall that I would wait in a chair away from the door, until he alone, finally decided that it was time for him to come in. I believe that this was only about the third or fourth time since he had been here, from early October, that he had stayed out. All things considered, I believe that he accidently ended up in the boys’ pen sometime during that span of time, and a big boy or two just happened to get too rough with him, as I now believe is what happened to Marc Antony as well, several days earlier. Just two coincidentally, unexpected happenstances that shortened the life of two absolutely exceptional creatures. They both truly touched our hearts, and will be deeply missed. God bless both their tiny souls.