VANCOUVER -- Kinder, Phoenix, Nacho and Buck are the latest addition to the family of Erica Gray Gowans, an associate professor in the Animal Health Technology program at Thompson Rivers University.

The two-month old ducklings were hatched in an incubator that used to be in Gray Gowans’ lab, but when campus closed to due COVID-19, she thought, “Well, I’ll just bring them home.”

The eggs started hatching on April 1, and eventually, she found herself with four tiny yellow ducklings.

“It’s actually been a lot of fun…it’s a great way for all of us to spend time together,” Gray Gowans said.

The ducklings have found themselves making cameos in online classes, virtual staff meetings, and even Gray Gowans’ sons’ school classes.

Even the family dog, Pearl, a great Pyrenees, has taken to guarding the quartet of quackers.

“She’s a livestock guardian dog, so she keeps them safe,” said Gray Gowans.

Pre-pandemic, homes had been lined up for the ducklings, but now, they’re such a big part of Gray Gowans’ family, that they’ve decided to keep them.

“They enjoy spending time in our garden, and we’ve got a little kiddie pool for them,” she added.

So when it’s time to go back to school, Kinder, Phoenix, Nacho and Buck will be staying in their new forever home.