Sriracha in the backyard.

Early mornings at the Shipley-Green estate are pleasant and predictable. We drink coffee and Woody usually watches the suburban wildlife race across the lawn from the back deck. A few days ago, however, our ritual was interrupted.

“Shit…duck…in the backyard…he’s gonna kill it,” I heard Cristi say from the kitchen as I scrolled through some pretentious art blog. Seconds later, I hit the back door running.

Fully fenced and freshly mowed, our yard is the perfect kill zone for Woody the dog. I’d heard one of our neighbors had two ducks as pets and I was fairly certain she was only going to have one when the dust settled.

Quack. Bark. Quack. Growl. Quack. Silence. I have to hand it to the duck—she’d found the one spot in the backyard where Woody couldn’t squeeze his 65-pound-lab-mix body through. After Cristi lured the Woods away with treats, I chased the duck around in circles.

A half hour later, once the duck was safely removed from the confines of our fully fenced plot of land, Woody and I went for a quick walk around the block. Just around the corner, we encountered a person yelling for a lost pet.

“Sriracha…Sriracha…come home, Sriracha,” she sang, stepping out of the alley.

I explained what had happened and that Sriracha was fine. As I recapped the details, the duck known as Sriracha came waddling down the alley. The neighbor thanked me and ran toward the critter, scooping her up off the ground with a hug.

Fortunately, the whole thing ended without any death or mutilation. According to the image on his fancy dog food bag, Woody usually has Turkey for breakfast. But something tells me he’ll never forget the day he almost had duck instead.


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