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One lucky duck

PAWS Animal Shelter rescues, rehabilitates injured duck

Sharon Murphy has seen a lot in her 17 years running PAWS Animal Shelter in West Linn — countless injured cats and dogs, along with just about every other animal you might find in the area.

Yet she still deals with surprises every now and then, and that was the case when an Oregon City family brought in an injured duck in late April. The duck had a mysterious puncture wound in his chest, and his legs were so swollen that he was unable to walk, Murphy said. SUBMITTED PHOTO - The duck, who was later named Ryan Gosling, was found with a punture wound in his chest and was unable to walk due to swelling in his legs.

Murphy and other volunteers knew they would have their work cut out if they wanted to save the duck, but it was the type of challenge Murphy takes pride in.

“One of the things I love about the shelter is if we can help, we do,” Murphy said.

The duck, who took on the name “Ryan Gosling" (after the handsome Hollywood actor) -- despite his obvious nongooseness -- was first sent to an avian veterinarian for about a week, and it remained unclear if he would survive the injuries.

“The vet said she had never seen swollen legs like that,” Murphy said. “Maybe one, but not both.”

But the swelling started to subside, and eventually Ryan Gosling was able to return to the shelter. Like a human recovering from a significant leg injury, the duck began going through a makeshift version of hydrotherapy to regain strength.

“It started with a Rubbermaid container we filled with water,” Murphy said. “He sat around and kicked and did duck stuff.”

Between those hydrotherapy sessions, Ryan Gosling also lounged outside in the sun on a towel. He’d gained enough strength to do some “preening,” as PAWS wrote on its Facebook page, but still couldn’t stand on his own.

Finally, Ryan Gosling was transferred to a foster home that takes care of other ducks. Murphy said he still spends about 15 or 20 minutes in a bath every hour, and has yet to regain full strength.

“We’ll see from there, he could end up staying with them,” Murphy said.

Her best guess is that the duck was domesticated before his injury.

“If this little guy chooses to go back to the wild, I’m sure he would be able to from the foster home,” she said. “But my guess is he wasn’t wild before. … I think he was probably someone’s duck.”

No one will ever know what caused the injuries, but Murphy suggested he may have been attacked by a bird of prey — either before or after his legs became swollen.

“He had the puncture wound in his chest — (we’re not sure) whether that caused his legs to become swollen, or maybe he got it because they were swollen and he couldn’t run away,” Murphy said.

Patrick Malee can be reached at 503-636-1281 Ext. 106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..