Franciscan Focus

Just a simple blog of a Secular Franciscan trying to live with a Franciscan focus.
(And one of these days I'll fix the template and add a Search feature. :-P)

28 August 2007

More adventures in goose-wrangling (Part II) 

Continued from Part I last month ...

We had to rescue 10 baby geese the next day, but how exactly were we gonna do that? After much pondering, Husband Mike came up with The Plan:
  1. Even though we were working with the wildlife rehab center on this, we didn't wanna draw any undue attention to ourselves. ("Oh, hello, Officer. Why are we chasing after these goslings? Um ...") Therefore, we'd get up the next day at 3:30 a.m. in order to be at the %&$)#! retention pond before 4 a.m.
  2. Lure the babies to one of the retention pond's rounded corner-ish areas with some cracked corn. (Note: Never feed waterfowl bread! For them, it's worse than junk food, and may even cause deformities in youngsters. Cracked corn is way better.)
  3. Catch the geese, then drive 'em all over to my folks-in-law's home -- it's much closer to the wildlife center than our place. From there, call the center and bring in the babies whenever we're told to. (You can't just waltz up to these places and dump off animals -- you've gotta get them properly admitted.)
As for the catching and transporting ...

That night, we dug out two ginormous plastic blue storage tubs and lined 'em with soft, fluffy towels. We figured each tub would comfortably hold 5 goslings, and the tubs were tall enough so that we didn't have to worry about anyone jumping out. Plus, once the 'lings were inside, we could loosely place the lids on top to minimize sound/stress.

We went over our plan a few more times while piling the tubs, tin of cracked corn, wader boots (for Husband Mike, just in case), and flashlights by the front door, then turned in for a fitfully short night of sleep.

I was ready to smash the alarm clock when it screeched at 3:30 a.m. While I bumbled around still half-asleep, Husband Mike quickly got dressed. Kinda' hazy on details, but I think it took me two tries to pull on my sweatpants, and I seem to recall some flailing 'round.

Of course, the cats all thought that since Mom and Dad were up, it was Breakfast Time! Everyone hurried excitedly -- with much meowing -- into the kitchen, only to look confusedly around when no kibble was forthcoming. Poor guys. But, we had Geese To Rescue, and darnit, the furkids could wait a few hours until Proper Breakfast Time.

After we parked near the pond and started pulling out the tubs, I suddenly wished I hadn't put on a grey T-shirt. Why didn't I pick a darker color? Husband Mike dressed sensibly in black, but I might as well've put on a flashing, neon Goose Catcher sign. Nice going, idiot.

I was still attempting to maneuver my tub out of the car when Husband Mike informed me that he saw the 'lings stirring ... somewhere, I was too bleary-eyed to see exactly where ... so hurry up and get that tub next to the one I've already got out there. (He's really efficient.) I swung the tub around and attempted to stride forward and ... immediately twisted my ankle on the curb. My good ankle.

I collapsed (I'm a wimp), but the relief of loud swearing was denied me as we were Trying To Be Stealthy. So, all I could do was curl over my stupid, stupid ankle -- great, both ankles are crappy now! -- and whimper. After checking to make sure I was OK (well, I wasn't really, but whatever) and maybe saying something along the stiff-upper-lip lines, Husband Mike grabbed my tub and hurried off.

After the shooting pain subsided, I foggily limped over to the tubs, which Husband Mike had arranged in a sort of barrier near the roundish-corner, and picked up both lids to use in a goalie-blocking manner for when the 'lings tried to dash away. They were eagerly eating the cracked corn and didn't notice my approach, which was a good start. However, they did notice when Husband Mike then lunged down, grabbed one, and plopped him -- peeping loudly -- into a tub.

The group tried to scatter in my direction, but I blocked 'em with the lids, so they clustered back into the roundish corner with much peeping. Husband Mike grabbed another one and dropped him in a tub, and soon we had a pattern going:

Lunge, grab, peep!, plop, block. Lunge, grab, peep!, plop, block.

It took less than 15 minutes for Husband Mike to nab all 10 'lings, and then we were gently carrying our goose-laden tubs back to the car. (No ankle-twisting incidents on the way back, thank you very much.)

Thus we found ourselves half-awake at 4:15 a.m. in a car with two ginormous plastic tubs filled with 10 peeping baby Canada Geese. With the fragrance of goose poop starting to permeate the car, Husband Mike dropped me off at our place (I immediately crashed for a few more hours until work) and drove to my folks-in-law's.

I called him around 9 a.m. for an update. How were the 'lings? Fine, though they're none too happy about the accommodations. And there's a lot of poop. When can you drop 'em off at the center? Left two messages and am waiting for them to call back. OK, well, call me back when you hear from them.

When I finally called Husband Mike again around noon (?), the center still hadn't called back. (Remember, they knew in advance that we were coming and to expect our call.) He'd left another message, this one angrier than the last, especially since while he was waiting, one of the baby geese died. (We think he was the smallest and weakest of the group -- Husband Mike had previously noted him being picked on by the others.)

What the hell?! Change in plan: Call a different shelter (one we'd also dealt with, but much farther away), explain the situation, and see if they'll take the remaining 9.

Much time passed.

Husband Mike called: Other Shelter immediately answered the phone and said to bring in the goslings -- including the body of Little #10, they'd handle it -- right away, no problem. He did. They quickly got 'em all admitted and said we'd get an update in a few months. And that was it.

We can't help but wonder if Little #10 would've lived had we been able to get 'em in sooner.

Oh, we finally got a reply from First Shelter, who called back after Husband Mike had left for Other Shelter. My mom-in-law said they apologized for not calling earlier, but they were all offsite dealing with the aftermath of a bad thunderstorm, yadda, yadda, yadda.

What, they couldn't have someone at least checking their damn messages? All we needed was for someone to call us back and let us know what was going on. Instead, Husband Mike sat around for 8 freakin' hours.

We were only slightly mollified by knowing my mom-in-law lit into them.

Anyway, a few weeks ago we got a postcard from Other Shelter. The remaining 9 geese survived and were successfully released back into the wild. Because Other Shelter is so far away, we'll prolly never see that group again. Even so, whenever we pass a flock of Canada Geese now, we can't help but wonder ...

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Blogger Bego said...

You're heroes!

And yes, goober, don't you watch Mission Impossible? Black is the preferred color for all nocturnal rescue missions.

28 August, 2007 16:53  

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