As fireworks exploded up and down my street I cringed as I thought about the newly hatched ducklings huddled together in the damp, murky storm drain below the street.
This is a guest post from Lee and Allison Mayorga who contacted Hope For Paws last July 4th 🎆
Mama duck and her ducklings had been enjoying the sprinklers in my front garden when I noticed that there were no longer 9 ducklings, but only four. I looked around and heard peeping coming from the street. They had fallen about 10 feet below into the storm drain. I immediately called every resource I could think of: fire department, police department, animal control - no one answered. I finally convinced two guys attending a party across the street to remove the manhole cover and climb down the ladder in an attempt to retrieve the ducklings. The rescue attempt was aborted after about 45 minutes when I realized that this well-intentioned duo had absolutely no skills in animal rescue and were attempting to grab the ducklings individually.
But my daughter, Allison, and I could not get the ducklings out of our minds. It was then I remembered a duo of Superheroes that had the brains, experience, equipment, and heart to help. I wondered if there might be a chance that Eldad and Loreta from Hope for Paws were available at 7:30 pm on the 4th of July to help. It’s worth a text, I thought, although I also believed I had a better chance of winning the lottery.
Imagine my surprise when I received a text 5 minutes later asking for a video of the location. I sent the video and a couple of texts later, they said they were on their way! I was in complete and utter shock! My daughter wondered if Eldad and Loreta themselves would actually come. I told her I didn’t know, and that they might send one of their teams.
I had second thoughts when I looked outside and saw that by this time it was totally dark, fireworks were going full blast, and utter chaos was taking place in our neighborhood. I was also afraid the ducklings would go farther into the 3ft circumference drains and be impossible to catch. I texted that maybe we should wait for the morning. The reply came in from rescuers with a true heart for animals. “No, we can’t wait. They need to be safe.”
An hour later the iconic silver SUV pulled up in my driveway and…Eldad and Loreta got out of the vehicle. I screamed as if it was Cinderella at my house! By the way, Loreta is even more stunning in person if that is possible. What a natural beauty she is! Eldad is not bad either lol, tall and handsome. Quite a pair! They were shocked by the thunderous fireworks being deployed in the neighborhood and very worried about the effect the noise would have on the ducklings. They immediately got to work and fed an underground cable attached to a rescue camera with a feeder wire down the hole. We were able to see the ducklings huddled together in the murky water.
Seconds later, both Eldad and Loreta were down the hole and in the tunnels with nets. As you can see from the video, the rescue was not easy. They had to crawl through the 3-foot tunnels after some surprisingly fast ducklings! Despite this, I knew that Eldad and Loreta had the smarts and experience to make it happen. At one point, my daughter Allison heard Loreta’s terrified voice saying she needed to get out of here. I felt so badly about the ordeal she was going through. But I also knew that the genuine love she has for all living things would result in success. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later Eldad, followed by a filthy Loreta, emerged from the hole with a net full of healthy and adorable ducklings.
This is what true rescuers do. Loreta was breathless, wet, and covered in muck, but she had a victorious smile. She told us it was the scariest thing she had ever done. This amazing team worked so well together with Eldad calling the shots in a calm, encouraging voice, and Loreta fighting her fears and displaying her skills. Eldad’s mind is always working, and when he employed the duck call sound from his iPhone during such a desperate time, I was amazed at his ingenuity.
After the incredible rescue, I enjoyed rinsing off the five ducklings, feeding them, and getting them tucked in for the night. Allison and I planned to search for Mama duck and possibly reunite the family the next morning. At 6 am, a search of the area informed us that, sadly, Mama duck had left the area with her remaining four ducklings. I texted Eldad and Loreta and we agreed to meet and deliver the ducklings to the Wetlands and Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Huntington Beach where Eldad and Loreta had previously delivered some orphaned opossum babies.
The next day at the center we got a VIP tour of the facility from the manager, Debbie, and saw the clean, spacious areas allocated for Mallard ducks and ducklings. We felt good about the care they would receive before they were released.
So many animal rescue organizations exist; it is difficult to determine which are truly dedicated, hardworking, legitimate rescues. I am happy to say Hope For Paws is the real deal. They deserve all of our support.