West Place Animal Sanctuary Celebrates Remarkable 17th Birthday of Crested Pekin Duck, Erna

In a heartwarming celebration, staff and volunteers at West Place Animal Sanctuary came together to mark the 17th birthday of Erna, a Crested Pekin Duck whose life has defied the odds. Rescued in 2007, Erna stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of farm animals when provided with proper care and compassion.

Crested Pekin Ducks typically have an average lifespan of eight to twelve years, making Erna’s journey all the more extraordinary. As the last remaining survivor among West Place’s original farm animal rescues from 2007, Erna holds a special place in the hearts of all who know her story.

Renowned for her nurturing instincts, Erna has played a vital role as West Place’s busiest “foster mom” during the warmer months, aiding in the upbringing of countless baby birds, including ducklings, goslings, chicks, poults, and cygnets. Her unwavering dedication underscores the transformative impact of love and care on the lives of farm animals.

Wendy Taylor, founder and executive director of West Place Animal Sanctuary, expressed profound admiration for Erna’s enduring presence and invaluable contributions to the sanctuary’s mission. “Since the inception of West Place in 2007, Erna has been a constant source of inspiration and joy,” Taylor remarked. “Her maternal instincts have not only saved lives but also enriched the lives of both humans and animals alike.”

Erna’s birthday festivities, held amid joyous revelry, included special artwork, decorations, heartfelt songs, and a delectable birthday cake adorned with her favorite treat—blueberries. Staff and volunteers reminisced about cherished memories with Erna, recited poetry, and captured moments of the celebration in photographs. The event was streamed live on social media, allowing supporters of West Place to partake in the joyous occasion.

Taylor emphasized Erna’s significance as a symbol of hope and resilience within the sanctuary, highlighting the importance of providing a safe haven for animals in need. “Erna’s journey serves as a reminder of the profound impact that compassionate care can have on the lives of farm animals,” she affirmed.

As West Place continues its mission of providing lifelong care to farm animals rescued from neglect and abuse, Taylor urged the community to recognize the responsibilities associated with animal companionship. “Caring for animals is a lifelong commitment that requires dedication and resources,” she emphasized. “Impulse purchases of animals, particularly around holidays like Easter, can result in unintended neglect or abandonment.”

Despite Erna’s birthday falling on Easter Sunday, her official birthday is April 1, coinciding with 401Gives, the United Way of Rhode Island’s statewide giving day. West Place, which operates without government funding, relies on the generosity of the community to sustain its efforts in caring for nearly 100 farm animal rescues like Erna.

In honor of Erna’s remarkable milestone, West Place encourages donations to be made through their 401Gives donation page, accessible at www.westplace.org/401gives. Additionally, merchandise featuring Erna’s Rhode Island driver’s license, a volunteer-created design, is available for purchase at www.westplace.org/shop, with proceeds supporting the sanctuary’s vital work.




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