A boy with cerebral palsy has learned to walk – after getting some quack medicine from a disabled duckling.
The duckling, a Plymouth woman and her disabled son, were brought together by a twist of fate – with life changing consequences.
Becci Lomax rescued the duckling when it was just a day-and-a-half old, as it was going to be put down after being born with a splay leg.
"Basically when it laid down or sat down, its leg was right up near its head and it was unable to walk," says Becci.
After nursing Ming-Ming – named after a character from the Nickelodeon TV show Wonder Pets – the duckling is now able to walk. But it's not just the cute duckling who is now getting around. Amazingly Becci's four-year-old son, Finlay, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has copied his progress by taking his first three steps.
"I was told to put the duckling down first of all. I was trying all over Plymouth to find a vet that knew about ducks.
"At first I didn't think he would make it – I felt sick. But I found this lovely lady at Plymouth Veterinary Hospital," says Becci, aged 29, of North Prospect.
"This is the most amazing thing because in doing physio on the duckling, the same as I do for my son, Finlay took his first three steps after watching me doing the physio with the duckling.
"I was brimming with pride.
"Finlay uses a frame at home but even that's increased. He said 'I walk like the duck Mummy'," says Becci.
Thanks to her dedication, nursing and perseverance, which included 20 minute feeds through the day and night, Ming-Ming, although unstable, is now able to walk and looks to be on the waddle to a full recovery.
"I must admit I have been keeping him in my cleavage to keep him warm and my sister does the same to help me out.
"I've even set up a heater at my mum and dad's who babysit if I need to go out.
"Because of his leg, he's a bit unstable so he can't be left on his own," added Becci, who used a three quarter inch plaster cut in half as a splint.
Becci is looking for another duckling of around the same age to keep Ming-Ming company and to learn how to be a duck as he looks to her as his mother.
She is also looking for advice to ensure that she is caring for him properly as Becci says she is a "real novice."