By Hannah Stevens @hannashewans
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Videographer / director: Pam Ishiguro
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Ruby Coote
Editor: Sonia Estal
Proud duck owner Pam Ishiguro has a flock of seven ducks but her four-year-old Pekin duck Rudy and golden retriever Barclay have formed the strongest bond and are now inseparable.
The Orange County-based mum said: “The animals are much like my two boys - they have a love-hate relationship. When they are together, somebody is always chasing or jumping on someone else, but when they are apart, they’re always calling for each other.
“Barclay loves to eat duck chow - actually he just likes to eat and knows there’s always food in the coop, so whenever he gets a chance, he’ll sneak into the coop and eat their food.
“He also likes to drink their bath water and, if he happens to be stealthy enough, he loves to sniff a little duck butt.”
But the dog and duck pairing was not always so friendly, at first Rudy enjoyed chasing Barclay away whenever he tried to approach any of the ducks in the group.
Ishiguro said: “Rudy is our alpha duck. He is in charge of everyone and everything. When Barclay tries to sniff any of the other ducks, Rudy is there to stop it. Rudy used to chase Barclay away, and for a long while, Barclay would run away.
“Just recently, however, Barclay has decided that he’s no longer afraid of the ducks, or perhaps the appeal of getting a bite of their food is so strong that it’s given him more courage.
“Now Rudy has to “claim” Barclay every once in a while by climbing on top of him. Barclay doesn’t seem to mind terribly because that gives him the opportunity to sniff Rudy’s butt - win-win!”
However, the family’s other dog Izzy - a chihuahua and terrier cross - has never been on very friendly terms with the ducks.
Pam added: “Barclay was afraid of the ducks when they were ducklings. We even tried showing the ducklings to him, but he wouldn’t even look in their direction. I think he had always been scared of the ducks until just recently.
“It’s possible that he learned that behaviour from watching our other dog, Izzy, who actually stalked the ducklings.
“We were afraid that Izzy might try to eat one of them so we were always correcting Izzy’s behaviour when he would lurk in the corners and Barclay must have picked up on it.
“That all changed when the ducklings grew up and became larger in size than Izzy. It only took one time for the ducks to chase Izzy to get the message across. Now Izzy is pretty well afraid of the ducks.”
Although the unconventional family has a few conflicts, Rudy and Barclay continue to spend as much time as possible cuddled up in each others' fur and feathers.
“Rudy is our official toe biter if anyone gets too close. The other ducks know that Barclay is his best friend, if anyone gets too close they better watch out, Rudy will attack without warning.
“Rudy and Barclay need each other - I think that’s why they have such a strong bond, they’re like the oddballs on the playground. No one else will play with them, so lucky for them, they found each other.”