DES MOINES, Iowa — An unlikely therapy pet is changing the lives of Iowa residents. Meet “Webester” — a therapy duck.
Duck’s Owner, Philip Blanchard says, “a quick little trip with him turns into about a three-hour adventure.”
When Blanchard drives down the street, people stare.
“He thinks he’s more of a dog than a duck,” Blanchard said.
That’s because his passenger can barely see out the window… but insists on sitting in the front seat.
“Webster, what do you think buddy? Wanna go on a visit?” Blanchard asks.
Webster the therapy duck visits about three different places a week. Tuesday is his first time to Vita Health Services… a residential facility in Des Moines for people with mental illnesses.
Not shy at all… Webster makes his presence known right away…quickly nestling into place on anyone’s lap.
He may not be a dog or a cat, but this domestic mallard brings comfort to anyone he touches.
Webster started out as a family pet, but Blanchard recently enrolled him in the ARL therapy pet program after realizing his duck acts more like a person than an animal.
“He’s always been so personable,” Blanchard says.
So personable, he even wanted his picture with Santa.
Blanchard says, “he loves to be social and out and about.”
Webster even has his own Facebook page detailing his adventures and visits to nursing homes and kids’ camps.
“Just the joy on their face, to be able to pet something that’s different than a cat or a dog and feel how soft his feathers are,” Blanchard said.
Cat Mcauliffe from the ARL Thearpy Pets Program says, “it’s been amazing. He’s super popular because it’s a novel thing. People don’t see a duck going out and sitting on people’s laps and wanting to get attention.”
So popular, Webster’s schedule is pretty jam packed, but he always has time to cuddle and comfort anyone around him.
Webster is based in Adel, Iowa but travels all over for therapy visits.