TAMPA – Abby Gatenby was walking with her friends around a pond at the Carrollwood Country Club. It was a normal day until Gatenby saw a duck in the pond that looked a bit unusual.
The duck had an arrow through its body.
It was through a fatty part of the body, but still, it was an arrow. The problem was that it isn’t easy capturing a duck. The ordeal brought much of the community together as they struggled to save the duck. No one knows where the area came from, but rescuing the duck became a community project.
“I was just walking around the Carrollwood Country Club and noticed the duck,” Gatenby said. “I saw it, but we couldn’t catch him to help him out.”
She attempted to contact local government agencies and couldn’t get any assistance, so she decided to round up about 13 people in the Carrollwood area to help. But instead of 13, she got more than 50. They formed fences, waded into the pond and, after two weeks, were finally able to save the duck. After having the arrow removed, the duck recuperated and was released into the wild. Actually the duck is likely still in the pond at the Carrollwood Country Club and there are a lot of residents making sure the duck is doing fine.
Gatenby, along with her friend, Laurie Jewell, decided to take things a step further. Gatenby wrote a book, “Archie the Lucky Duck.” It is self-published and describes the plight of the duck on a child’s level. She and Jewell hosted a book signing at the Carrollwood Cultural Center on Sunday. Gatenby wrote the story and Jewell provided the illustrations.
“I can’t believe how helpful the people in Carrollwood were, trying to save that duck,” Jewell said. “We wanted to share the story and it all came together. The people in Carrollwood never gave up.”
Gatenby was most impressed with how the community came together over a duck.
“That duck had an arrow in its body for a month,” Gatenby said. “We just couldn’t catch it, but nobody gave up. To get more than 50 people wading out into that pond was incredible. It says a lot about Carrollwood. We all support each other. It’s a very special place and it says a lot.”