Nguyen Thi Anh Tuyet, the owner of the flower shop at Thiec Market (District 11, Ho Chi Minh City), always brings her two lovely ducks with her when she goes to work. At lunch, when the market is less crowded, she has time to play with the ducks. To get her attention, the female duckling follows her around and taps her beak on her owner’s shoes.
Tuyet understands what her ‘best friends’ want. She quickly grabs a handful of ice cubes and put them into a bowl of water. The two ducks happily drink the water and eat the cube. Five months ago, Tuyet picked up a baby duckling that fell from a passing stranger’s bag outside her flower shop.
|The ducks love ice cubes (Photo: Thanh Nien)
“The women brought two fertilized duck eggs, but they unexpectedly hatched. She intended to give the two ducklings to her relatives. But when she passed through my place, a duck fell out on the street. In fear that the duck would be killed by a car, I rushed towards it and picked it up.” she said.
She then returned the duck to the other woman. However, the lady decided to let Tuyet kept the duckling after seeing her tenderly holding it in her hands. “I raised it from when it was a baby. I put it into a large bowl for it to swim, bathing it and feeding it everyday,” she said.
|Photo: Quyen Tran
Everyday, Tuyet brought the baby duckling with her to work. She fed it with rice, grapes, dried shrimps and ice cubes. She did not name the duck but lovingly called it her ‘child.’ When it grew up to be a beautiful ‘young lady,’ Tuyet still took her pet to the market each day.
The female duckling stood by Tuyet’s side while she worked, and never wandered far away from her owner, but kept on a harness when the market became crowded.
A woman recently offered to give Tuyet a male duck to accompany with her own duck, to which she agreed.
Surprisingly, the two ducks never showed any aggression towards each other and got along well, even shared food. They both love grapes, ice cubes and swim together in a large water bowl at home.
Best friends and precious companions
“This male duck used to belong to a friend of mine. He was loved and well taken care of by his owner. It was a big change for him when he first came to my home. He is much bigger and older than my child but is very docile, and only follows his ‘wife,’” Tuyet said
Ever since the two ducklings became her companions, Tuyet’s life turned out to be happy and full of joy, and she has never felt tired bringing the ducks to work in the morning, then putting them in a basket and riding them home in the afternoon, feeding and taking care of them.
“Animals also have feelings. When the ducks were young, they loved snuggling by my side and following me everywhere. They learned to tap their beaks at my shoes when they were hungry. When I am sad, I will sit and play with my two ducks and talk to them,” Tuyet said.
The ducklings also brings joy and are adored by many people at the market. People often give the ducks grapes and ice cubes, and play with them. “The ducks are clean, affectionate and very smart. If they don’t see their owners for a little while, they will cry and waggle around to find her,” said the fast food sellers near Tuyet’s flower shop.
The two ducks are also great friends to the children living near the market. The kids often bring them fruits and vegetables, and play with them after school.
Tuyet receives a lot of offers to buy the two ducks, but has always turned them down. “No amount of money will make me sell them. I love them, and I will never do that.” she said.
Concerned about her mother’s wealth and health, Tuyet’s children advised her to send them to her hometown. But when the two ducks were released into a flock of ducks, the pair did not seem to fit in and aggressively chased the other ducks around.
“My ducklings bit other ducks and refused to stay among them,” Tuyet said. They did not know how to swim in the lakes, possibly because had grown accustomed to the constant affection of humans, being bathed in tap water for too long. I brought them back to the city with me. I would be devastated if I were seperated from my ducks.”
|To Tuyet, the ducks are more than just pets. Photo: Quyen Tran
|The male duck is more docile than the female. Photo: Quyen Tran
|Photo: Quyen Tran