Rescued duck now cherished pet in Lakeville

Family adds a feathered member

A baby duck rescued from a storm drain this spring has become a cherished pet.

Caleb Mulvihill, 13 of Lakeville, said he found the duckling in May a culvert where she was struggling to survive against a torrent of water.

Caleb Mulvihill holds his duck, Moline.

“There was so much rushing water,” he said. “She was trying to get up, but there was junk in the way so she couldn’t swim out.”

He brought the bewildered black and yellow duckling he named Moline home, and with the help of family created a fenced house for her on the family’s deck, complete with a child-size swimming pool, a ramp and shelter.

“There’s a little hut she can go into if it’s raining,” aid Caleb’s sister Jocelyn Mulvihill, 18. “There’s bedding on the bottom of it and a kiddie pool with a stairs to go up and down.”

“This duck is pretty well set up,” agreed Caleb’s mom Melissa Gephart.

She said at first they were considering releasing the mallard, who they figured was only a few days old when Caleb found her, but Moline quickly melded into the hearts of everyone in the family.

“She was still yellow and fuzzy and just very adorable,” Melissa said. “You can’t really turn stuff like that away.”

Moline has bonded most strongly with Caleb and often follows him around.

“She and Caleb are attached at the hip,” Melissa said.

She said Moline squawks at Caleb’s bedroom door at night until she is let in and snuggles next to him on the bed to sleep.

They at first put her in a glass aquarium, then graduated to a bigger tote before putting her in the biggest tote they could find before making her the pen, a more permanent structure that seemed to seal her place in their lives.

“I think we have a new family member, which is wonderful,” Melissa said.

“She loves Caleb so much,” agreed Jocelyn.

Moline’s days are usually spent in her deck-house and they bring her inside the house at times when there is bad weather.

“Caleb doesn’t even like to leave her out when there’s rain, although ducks are supposed to like rain,” Melissa said.

The family’s five-pound dog, Rio, took it in stride when Moline came as a tiny duckling, but now appears to family to be somewhat alarmed at how fast the duck has grown.

“They’re basically the same size,” Jocelyn laughed.

Caleb brought Moline to Pan-O-Prog’s Pet Show although he could not enter her in any of the competitions because of the age restrictions.

He easily scooped her into his arms where she nestled near him amidst a crowd of people and he focused completely on her as he answered questions about how much his life has changed since finding her.

“She doesn’t know how to be outside anymore because she’s so used to me feeding her,” Caleb said.

Melissa said the family is working on plans to build her a winter home inside their garage and keep it warm with a heater lamp.

“I want to keep her forever,” Caleb said.

Melissa agreed Moline is not going anywhere.

“The go hand in hand,” she said. “