He followed his love interest around, spoke to her continuously in a soft chipping sound and wanted to be around her always. The only problem with that was that I was his love interest. He had imprinted on me and would not let me out of his sight. When I was doing chores in the house, there was Goose — often lying down on the carpet and falling asleep until I was finished.
He followed me into the bathroom and when I showered, he showered too with the little droplets of water that landed on his feathers. He discovered TV and watched with his head to the side. When he got bored, he waddled outside to the pond, where he declared his total ownership of the water and would not allow the other ducks to use it. He was very grumpy when he couldn’t get into the house and be with me, and would squak loudly and jabber in a grumpy goose voice till I came out again.
He loved his food and when I brought out his dish, he ran up and down the garden, wings out, screaming with delight. He particularly loved watermelon, and he got a quarter every day. At night, he would sleep outside against my glass bedroom door, chipping to me all night, just letting me know he was there. But come morning, he would tap at the glass to be let in. Of course his toilet training was nonexistent and I had to start limiting the time he was allowed in the house. When I sat outside with him, he climbed, as big as he was, onto my lap where he settled down for a nap. He was so big by this time, I couldn’t even put my arms around him, so I just stroked his lovely, long white neck softly.
Decision day came about Goose’s future. I visited the lake again and was really sad to see hardly any geese or ducks on the lake. They had almost all been culled. There was a sinking pit in my stomach knowing that Goose could have been killed in that cull too. Releasing him back onto the lake would spell certain death for him in many ways, mainly being that he would likely be caught up in the next year’s cull. Besides, he was used to being fed a good diet regularly, and didn’t live mainly off grass. He wouldn’t be able to find food for himself.
He was a happy bird, strong and lively, and had the run of a very big garden and pond. But something was missing from his life – and that was companionship. So one night my husband brought home a big cardboard box and inside was the answer to our prayers. A big, beautiful grey female goose. At first Goose showed no interest, nipping her and chasing her. But she was persistant and followed him everywhere, and she eventually won him over with her charm.
His first love stayed with him, though, and he still slept outside my room and was overjoyed to be allowed into the house, where she never dared to come, and follow me around. He still spoke to me in that soft chipping sound, and felt he needed to “protect” me from everything and everyone, including my dogs and husband, who he would hiss at in warning when they came near me if he was around.
Today, Goose is a happy and healthy goose, king of the garden and his duck herd which consists of his lady goose and two ducks, who follow him around. He knows his feeding times and calls me loudly if I am a minute late with his food. He still comes into the house and plods after me, he sleeps as near as he can to me at night, on the step of my glass bedroom door, and chirps to me. He is probably bigger than most geese due to a balanced diet and regular food.
I visited the lake again on the weekend, and there are hardly any geese on the lake. As much as I would have liked to see Goose on a lake with his own kind, he is loved and cared for in my garden — and much more than that, he is safe. He will live out a long and fulfilled life, with no threat to his life, ever.
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