LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – When a neighborhood pet went missing, one Little Rock man went on a search and rescue mission to find him.
Just about everyone who lives in Midtown knows of Buddy the duck, but one man made a special bond with him. It was a friendship that took flight in the beginning of January when the duck waddled down Birkett Wootton’s street.
“I just kept calling him Buddy because he just became my buddy,” Wootton said.
It became a daily ritual for Wootton.
“Every day get the food ready for Buddy to show up,” Wootton said.
When the snowstorm hit, his buddy was nowhere to be found. Wootton went out to search his normal spots and when he finally found his feathered friend, his feathers were matted with ice.
“He leapt over here into this side where the water runs and the water gets deep,” Wootton said.
With the weight of the ice, Buddy started to sink in the creek.
“That was a heart stopping moment. I just thought for certain he was dying in front of me at that moment,” Wootton said.
Determined to rescue Buddy, Wootton grabbed his waders and hopped in.
“Couldn’t let Buddy die. Had to go save Buddy,” Wootton said.
He brought the duck inside and made a nest out of sheets to warm him up. When that didn’t work, he brought out the blow dryer.
“He was letting me blow the blow dryer into his feathers and he would puff up and capture the heat and seal it inside,” Wootton said.
After his daring rescue, Wootton decided it was time for Buddy to migrate to a new home. He brought him to a lake in North Little Rock where Wootton flocks during the week to check up on his old friend.
“I was a little sad kind of like when somebody’s children go off to college, but having gone back and seen him thriving so much at this point I’m kind of feeling proud for him,” Wootton said.
Wootton’s office is nearby to the lake, so he stops by almost daily since he dropped him off.