Terrible News

Unfortunately, we had a raccoon attack here about a week ago, and we lost our sweet guy Gus. It was really bad, and we’re actually kind of lucky that only Gus was killed. No other feathered family members were hurt, but we’re all traumatized. And of course we’re mourning the loss of Gus.

I’m not really ready to talk much about it yet, and frankly I don’t think I will ever share all the details. You’ll just have to know that we’re doing all we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Gus was such a bright light and a fun character to have in the yard. He was only here about 5 months or so, and it breaks my heart to think that he was rescued from neglect only to die later in what was supposed to be his sanctuary. He should have been safe here.

goof ball
The other kids are starting to come around now, and adjusting to life without him. But I can’t let go yet. On the one hand, I feel like I did everything I could to keep him safe. We have a net-covered, hotwired, day aviary as well as night pens with hardware cloth on all sides, top and bottom. And on the other hand, I obviously let Gus down. I didn’t anticipate that 3 raccoons would work together to undo 2 different kinds of locks and open a door to a night pen, but that’s what happened. Frankly, I still can’t believe it. I don’t know anyone else who has done more to protect their flock, and it still wasn’t enough.

funny kid
Since the attack, we’ve extended the hotwire across the night pens and we are replacing the locks with padlocks. Both improvements should help keep our family safe, but nothing will bring back Gus.

bad dream
The past week has been like a bad dream that just won’t end. Life can be taken away so fast it takes your breath away, and there’s nothing you can do to reverse it and get it back. There’s no second chance for Gus. He’s just… gone. And there’s not a single thing we can do about it.

Right now I’m trying to focus on what a fun, goofy personality Gus was, and let go of what’s too late to fix. I have to ask a few favors from you, and I hope you can understand. Please don’t share your own horror stories about attacks on animals or animal deaths with us right now. It’s too much to take in. And please save the rainbow bridge stuff. We respect your views and honor them, but we’re just not in a good head space for that kind of stuff right now.

I know that’s a lot to ask, but it’s what we need.

I’m sorry to share such terrible news, and I hope we never have to share it again. I’m trying hard to get to a point where I can let go and say goodbye to Gus, but that’s going to be a while. Until then, here’s a couple of videos of him that show his goofy personality.

Gus wasn’t sure what to make of the new girl, April Shadow. But they were starting to figure each other out.

Gus always poked me on the leg or hand when he wanted more treats. He’d often come over to me and jab me in the shoe just to let me know he was around. He never wanted to be picked up, but I think he secretly liked me.

Again, I’m sorry to share such terrible news. But more than anything, I’m just so very sorry to Gus.

Rest in peace, Gus. We all miss you.

07. November 2011 by Silly Human
Categories: Sad Endings | 22 comments

Comments (22)

  1. So sorry for your loss. Losing a furry or feathered friend always leaves us with a hole in our hearts, no matter the reason.

  2. I’m so very sorry. I know that the measures you took to protect your flock were above and beyond. I hope you’ll be gentle with yourself when you’re mourning Gus.

  3. I really respect that you understand you did everything you could; it’s easy to blame oneself after something like that, if only to have someone to blame at all.

    You look after your flock. No one can legitimately question that. I’m sorry for your loss.

  4. I’m so sorry. You’ve been through so much with your kids, and I know it’s no comfort now, but every single one of your buddies knows that it is loved by you. I don’t know of any one person who does more for their buddies than you. Again – I know that doesn’t mean much now, but I sincerely hope it will soon.

  5. So understood. I’m sorry.

  6. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’ve followed your blog for a few years now, and I couldn’t agree more with Wayne’s comment. The compassion and love that you have for all of your kiddos is beyond comparison. Take care during this difficult time.

  7. Oh no, not Gus! Someow, when I read the title of your post, I knew it was him. I just saw that video with Shadow a couple of days ago. I loved how he tried to quack like a regular duck and sounded whispery like a Muscovy. I loved him.

    It sounds like ou had Fort Knox there, so don’t blame yourself.

    I watch over the ducks at our lake and we lost quite a few ducks this year, more than usual.

  8. I’m so very sorry. I know exactly what it’s like to feel that you’ve let an animal buddy down, and to be guilty, angry, confused, and sad over his death. It’s one of the worst feelings you can experience. I wish I could say something to help you.

    You couldn’t have predicted the attack. I know that it’s of little comfort to you at the moment. You gave him so much love and happiness, more than most ducks, and humans, ever know. If he could he’d quack at you and poke your leg just to remind you of that fact.

    Rest in peace, silly, adorable Gus. I’ll miss you. XXXOOO

  9. Thanks for sharing. It will help the rest of us upgrade our security systems and make our flocks safer.

  10. No rainbow bridge stuff here, Tiff.

    All I can say is as much as I LOVE animals, I HATE Raccoons. They’ve killed my ducks before as well.

    The love you have and give to these beautiful feathery friends is more than most do….

    You cannot blame yourself, as you’ve done more than anyone could do to protect them unless you pitched a tent and guarded them 24 / 7 right in their yard and we all know that is not possible.

    How many people love them so that they’ve even taken them to work in a diaper with you ???

    I can only say…may Gus rest in peace and know just how much he WAS INDEED loved. I’m so sorry for how much you’re hurting.

  11. I had wondered if something was up as I hadn’t seen much on facebook.
    Hugs to you all.

  12. Our love and thoughts are with you and your feathered family from The Duck Buddies and Daniella the UK. x

  13. i can’t add much to the earlier comments so i’ll just say we’re thinking of you and sending comforting thoughts your way.

  14. I’m so sorry for your loss. You do so much to take care of your flock and you can’t think that you let them down. You have so many measures in place to protect them and you couldn’t have predicted how devious those coons could be.

  15. Heart breaking.

    Raccoons are beyond belief. Who’d have thought they could break in to such an enclosure??

  16. Oh, Tiff, I am so sorry for this traumatic loss. Your setup sure seemed to be predator proof – they must have been very determined racoons. You gave Gus a wonderful life. He knew he was well loved and cared for…and could pester you for extra treats. He enjoyed days in the sun, lovely baths, searching for bugs in the grass, and the company of the other birds. It was shorter than we would have liked, but a very good life all the same. So glad we had a chance to meet this sweet boy. Our sympathies at this tough time.

    • Tiff, you are to be commended for all that you do for your family of ducks, chickens and cats. I know that it’s hard not to blame yourself but please keep in mind that raccoons are tricky and sneaky.

  17. I’m so sorry for your loss. That must have been awful.

  18. So sorry to hear this! I know you do all you can to keep the flock safe. We’re thinking of you.

  19. Tif, you have done so much over the years to protect your backyard family from preditors including the raccoons that got in the last time. You did all you could do to save your feathered friends. I know you will continue to safeguard them, come up with newer and better ideas to keep them safe. Know we all hurt with you at this loss.

    I’m so thankful that more weren’t lost.

    • So sorry for your loss!!! You did everything you could. We had raccoons break into our basement…walk about seventy feet upstairs thru a crawl space and into a room off of our basement…We had six ducks that we kept in a duck house…We are only left with two. Never thought that they would make their way into a room off of our house!!

  20. Sending comforting thoughts your way, Tif. Remember, your internet “family” all love you!

    Hope all the ducks and clucks are doing better mentally. That must have been so scary for them.

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