Franciscan Focus

Just a simple blog of a Secular Franciscan trying to live life with a Franciscan focus.

11 July 2006

Adventures in goose-wrangling 

"All creatures are created from the same paternal heartbeat of God. Not to hurt our humble brethren [animals] is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission -- to be of service to them whenever they require it."
~ St. Francis of Assisi
This past Sunday, Husband Mike and I added "Wild Goose-Wrangling" to our List Of Life Experiences and played host to an injured Canada goose in our bathroom. The story:

Returning home from Sunday morning Mass, we turned onto the road surrounding our apartment complex and saw a Canada goose walking with head bent low and both wings drooping at his side. This instantly triggered a strong "something's-not-right" suspicion. So, after briefly stopping inside to change, we headed back out to see if we'd simply imagined things, or if the fellow was truly ailing.

It took awhile to find him again, but when we did, a close-up look confirmed that Something Was Indeed Wrong, and he needed help. Back inside we went to call a nearby wildlife rehabilitation center. Could they do anything? Their reply: If we could 1) catch the goose and, 2) bring him to the center, they'd examine him and provide medical treatment if it was needed.

Uh-huh. Catch a Canada goose. Any suggestions how we're supposed to do that?

Try to sneak up on him from behind, and throw a blanket over his head and wings. Then, place him in a Large Box, and put the box in cool, dark, quiet place until you bring him here. And even though it's noon right now, you'll have to wait until 3:00 p.m. because that's when our vet will be here.

Ah.

So, Husband Mike and I dug out an old computer box we'd fortunately not pitched (hoarding boxes does come in handy, I suppose), lined it with towels, grabbed an old blanket, and trudged back outside for some goose-wranglin'.

Picture this: Two grown adults chasing a large Canada goose between them (sneaking proved unsuccessful), flappin' their arms at said goose and each other, with one holding a blanket and the other lugging a Very Large And Cumbersome Computer Box. Did I mention this was along a busy street? And in full view of the neighbors?

After much back-and-forth running and yelling (at each other, not the goose), we finally had a stroke of luck when the goose tripped and Husband Mike threw the blanket over him. It was a little tricky getting Geordi (of course I had to name him) into the box, but we managed it.

With Geordi settled in the big box, we walked as nonchalantly as possible across the parking lot to our apartment. Thankfully, he didn't make any noise along the way, so we never had to explain what we were up to, and we even smuggled him past the cats and into the bathroom without incident.

While time flies when you're having fun, it positively shuffles when you've got a sick goose in your bathroom and you have to wait 3 hours to see a vet. But finally, we got Geordi to the center (again, he was quiet the entire time) and the vet examined him. The prognosis: Geordi's left wing was broken, and the exposed bone had begun to die. The surrounding wound was severely infected and was actually maggot-infested. On his right side was a deep puncture wound, also maggot-infested.

The vet said it takes 3 days for bone to die, and because of that puncture wound, she guessed he'd been attacked 3 days earlier by a predator, most likely a coyote. Unfortunately, she said they'd have to euthanize Geordi, because if they amputated his wing, he'd have to live in captivity and it's illegal to keep Canada geese in captivity. We weren't entirely convinced this was the only choice, since the vet wasn't totally clear in answering our questions about whether or not there were any facilities, anywhere, that could legally keep Canada geese.

Even though the outcome was less than satisfactory, at least we were able to ease Geordi's pain and suffering ("The maggots are eating him alive; he's in excruciating pain," said the vet), and he didn't die alone, in drawn-out agony.

Before we left, I quickly touched Geordi's feathery head in farewell. It was the softest, silkiest sensation I've ever known. I can feel it still.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Melissa said...

Lisa,

What a beautiful, funny, sad and yet uplifting story. Hard to believe euthanasia was the only option, but I doubt the vet would do it unless he absolutely had no other choice.

St. Francis is very proud of you and Mike, and I bet the goose is sitting next to him right now...

12 July, 2006 13:19  
Blogger Bego said...

ah, thank God for Franciscans.

13 July, 2006 05:56  

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