The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 1:00 am

Lucky Sue at home with family

Rescued duck nursed back to health in house

TERRI RICHARDSON | The Journal Gazette

Sue is one lucky duck.

This is probably one of the few times I can say this phrase and it literally be true.

Sue is a duck, and she's lucky that she's still alive.

So it's more than appropriate that her name is Lucky Sue.

The white Pekin duck was saved by the Klaus family from a nearby neighborhood pond. She apparently was one of two ducks that were released outside by her owner once they were no longer babies. Lucky Sue managed to escape to the pond after her partner had been killed by a coyote. But she wasn't eating and she was limping badly.

That's when a friend who lived in the neighborhood reached out to Vanessa Klaus, asking her if she would rescue the duck.

Klaus didn't hesitate. After all, the family's four acres has sort of been dedicated to ducks and unwanted birds. The farm already had 12 ducks, along with some chickens, that Klaus adopted from Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control when they were confiscated during an investigation. So one more wouldn't be a problem.

But rescuing Lucky Sue proved more difficult than she thought. 

Klaus, along with her husband, Matt, had to go back out to the pond several times to try and rescue the duck. It also didn't help that the police were called because someone thought Klaus was trying to steal a swan from the pond. But Klaus didn't give up. It wasn't until Klaus and her husband, who is a Fort Wayne firefighter, used a pool noodle with a long piece of rope attached to coax the duck to the end of the pond that they finally nabbed her.

Upon inspection, the duck had bumblefoot, which is an infection in an animal's foot caused by bacteria that has entered through cuts or scrapes. Klaus consulted with a veterinarian, who advised putting the duck on antibiotics.

Of course, that meant Lucky Sue couldn't go out with the other ducks immediately. So what's a girl to do? In Lucky Sue's case she became a diva.

Klaus put a diaper on the duck and she got to live in the house, particularly the bathtub, until she was well enough to be let out into the barn.

During that time, the duck lay in Klaus' lap and ate snacks from her hand. Klaus' children would hold her. She went for car rides, sitting in the bucket seat as Klaus drove up to Starbucks to get Lucky Sue a cup of whipped cream.

“I'm convinced she thinks she's a dog,” Klaus says.

There's no doubt she believes she's the center of attention, often throwing tantrums by wiggling her butt and biting on Klaus' pant leg when she doesn't get her way.

“She's just really hilarious,” Klaus says. “We're definitely keeping her. She has the best personality.”

Once outside with the others, Lucky Sue ended up finding additional friends – three other female ducks. Klaus says they are always together and no one else is allowed in their circle. She also has 24-hour access to a kiddie pool.

But even with those fowl luxuries, Lucky Sue is still inside for a few minutes every day.

And if there is a storm, well, all the ducks come inside. Klaus says the barn has a busted window and if the wind is howling, the ducks get all worked up. So they take shelter in the family's bathroom.

So does that mean that Klaus diapers 13 ducks? “I do,” she says.

But I guess that's what happens when you are an animal lover like Klaus. The first animal Klaus ever had was a goat, who sat on the couch with her and watched cartoons.

Klaus' husband also is an animal lover, having grown up on a farm in Roanoke and has taken in his share of dogs. The couple met 10 years ago and have two sons. Klaus stays home to take care of her youngest son, who is autistic.

So it's no surprise that the family has over the years fostered dogs, cats and of course, ducks.

“It's nothing for me to have a duck in the house,” Klaus says.

And I guess that's pretty lucky for the newest member of the family.

Terri Richardson writes about area residents and happenings that affect their lives in this column that publishes every other week. Email her at or call 461-8304.

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