SAANICH -- The first two ducklings hatched normally. But Pepper’s arrival was problematic.

“His neck was tilted and crooked so he was looking up at the sky. He would stumble and fall down,” Deanne says, before showing me a picture of three fuzzy, yellow ducklings. Two are looking straight at the camera. Pepper is looking awkwardly up.

“But he had lots of personality and he was strong,” says Deanne.

After a regiment to remedy these sorts of things (and lots of love), Deanne says Pepper is now happy and healthy. He is a bit “pig-penny” though because he can’t reach to clean himself properly. His neck still bends differently.

“When Pepper sleeps he doesn’t tuck his neck like a normal duck would,” Deanne explains. “He just lies down where he is and flops.”

When Deanne and her family first noticed Pepper lying on the ground like this, they feared the worst. But now that they know the duck is just dandy. They savour his slumber.

“We’ll go about our day and look outside, ‘Oh! Pepper’s dead again!’ And we carry on,” Deanne laughs. “It just adds that little lightness to see him flat out in the yard.”

After three years of appreciating Pepper in private, and looking to connect during the pandemic, they decided to debut their drake publicly on TikTok.

They shared a video that begins with Pepper’s siblings resting normally, accompanied by the soundtrack to Titanic played conventionally. The words on the screen say, "Pepper sleeps like he’s dead. He’s fine. Honest."

As the camera pans over to Pepper, the music suddenly goes out of tune, and reveals the duck looking like a corpse.

“It just took off, [went] viral!” Deanne says. “It’s at 4.2 million views and still going.”

Pepper’s video is earning praise from around the world. Deanne says that, after a year of enduring the pandemic, people are relating to the image of the duck laying flat-out on the ground and that feeling of just being “done.”

“Somebody commented that it’s what happens when your phone auto-corrects to ‘ducking tired,’” Deanne laughs. “I though that was clever.”

Deanne has posted more videos of Pepper's unconventional sleeping position since then, including one were he’s snoozing while standing up.

While the people watching @deannesharp are likely feeling dead on their feet these days, and hoping to improve their ‘fowl’ moods by ‘quacking-up,’ Deanne (who’s a middle school teacher) says Pepper is also offering an empowering lesson.

“You can be loved just how you are. Just be you. Pepper’s being him. He’s not perfect and that’s what makes him so special,” Deanne says sincerely, before adding with a laugh. “And it’s important to get a good sleep!”