What the duck? Flo is a therapy duck in Arizona who loves people

Flo never really fit in at the duck pond.

She really rather preferred to be with people than feathered friends; quacking at and following any humans she encountered in the golf community of Florence, Arizona.

Bonnie Thorkildsen was walking home from a meeting late last month when she encountered Flo.

“I was approaching some people walking their dog,” she recalled. “I saw a duck making a bee-line for us across a grassy field. I joked about it and the guy walking his dog said, ‘Here is that duck again!! We just threw it back into the pond and now it’s following us!'”

Flo went right up to Bonnie.

“I knelt down to see if it would let me pet it. It almost jumped into my lap,” she remembered. “I picked it up and it nuzzled up against my neck. She was very friendly.”

Flo loved being cuddled by Bonnie.

The duck didn’t seem wild, like the other ducks.

It didn’t look like the other ducks, either.

With her husband Glenn waiting in the car, Bonnie scooped up the Indian Runner Duck to take it home and figure out a better place for the forlorn bird.

Flo (so named for their town) ate, drank, slept and waddled around the backyard.

Flo just loved hanging out with people.

Flo seemed perfectly at home.

“She didn’t make an attempt to fly away or escape through the open fence. If we went into the house, she quacked at the windows, calling for us Glenn walked across the backyard and she followed him – flapping her feet along the pavers. She was so cute,” Bonnie said.

Flo seemed to love Glenn and followed him everywhere.

But a private residence is no place for a duck.

And ducks aren’t really pets.  Plus, the Thorkildsens have cats.

Curious cats keeping an eye on Flo.

Bonnie started to call animal rescue organizations, but nobody would take a duck.

Then she found Aimees Farm Animal Sanctuary.

The Gilbert, Arizona-based rescue facility takes in farm animals, sick critters and horses from slaughter. There, the animals are nursed back to health and given safe-haven or re-homed.

Flo bonded with sanctuary founder, Aimee Takaha. And instantly, Aimee knew Flo had a purpose.

Flo is now a therapy duck.

“It is my belief that all animals regardless of species can heal or aid in comforting ones soul,” she explained.

(Plus, Flo alooks adorable in costumes.)

Flo at Aimees Farm Animal Sanctuary/Aimee Takaha

Animals are known to bring comfort to people of all ages and conditions.

“The truly neat thing about it all, is that the very animals that help others were once in need of help themselves,” Aimee added.

This week, Flo made her first visit to care facility. At Kopper Crest, which cares for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, she met a lovely group of seniors.

“She did beautifully,” Aimee said.

Flo on her first visit as a therapy duck/ Aimees Farm Animal Sanctuary

It was a wonderful experience for the residents, Aimee and Flo.

Seniors enjoying Flo’s company/ Aimees Farm Animal Sanctuary

Pure joy.

“Flo snuggled into their laps,” Aimee said. “One lady was reluctant to let go of Flo towards the end. Her smiles lit the room up! Flo enjoyed some snuggles, some food and water the ladies fed to her.”

Flo getting some love. Aimees Farm Animal Sanctuary

As for the couple who originally found Flo?

“I’m so happy for that little duck,” Bonnie said.

Photos Bonnie Thorkildsen, Aimees Farm Animal Sanctuary/Facebook




About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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