In the wild, many animals thrive by living in groups, using their numbers as a survival strategy to protect one another. Other animals, including wolves, beavers, gibbons, and about 90 percent of bird species, like to settle down with a mate. Just like humans, monogamous animal partners tend to have strong emotional bonds.
The affection of one goose in Cape Cod for her gander put her on a search that led straight to him after he was taken away for surgery.
When staffers at the New England Wildlife Center in Cape Cod found their local Canada goose Arnold staggering with a weakened leg, they removed the injured bird to the wildlife hospital for a medical examination.
“Yesterday our staff noticed that Arnold had developed a significant limp and was continuously falling over.” explained Cape Wildlife.
Upon reaching the hospital, the medical team inspected the injury on Arnold’s foot, determining a couple of open fractures.
“This means that the tissue and skin has been pulled away, leaving the bone exposed,” the team reported. “Our best guess is that a snapping turtle or other predator attacked him while swimming.”
To help Arnold, the team planned to stitch up the wound and cut the injured toe off. He was given antibiotics and pain relievers and sheltered inside without food prior to surgery.
The operation was about to begin the following day, when the team suddenly heard some tapping at the door.
In sickness and in health
As the team prepared for the surgery, they were astounded when they saw another wild goose tapping at the glass door. However, it was not just any wild goose; it was Arnold’s own mate.
Arnold has been sharing his nest with this particular goose at a pond located near the Center’s facility in Barnstable, Massachusetts.
Separated from Arnold, the goose managed to locate him and proceeded to tap her beak onto the door, trying to reunite with her lost gander.
“We turned to see that his mate had waddled up onto the porch and was attempting to break into our clinic!” said the staffers. “She had somehow located him and was agitated that she could not get inside.”
Arnold’s worried mate watched on as the surgery continued, eagerly waiting to see him again. Once the operation was completed, the team decided to forgo their “no visitors” policy and allowed the pair to be reunited at the doorway. The geese warmed up to one another and all the goose’s fears melted away.
“We opened the door and gave Arnold his flow-by oxygen in the doorway,” they said. “His mate immediately calmed down and began to groom him through the door.”
As Arnold recovers, he will remain at the hospital grounds to be treated until he can finally return to his nearby pond home with his mate.
“We will do our best to get him back out quickly,” vowed the staff.
The incredible bonds that some animals have with one another continue to amaze and touch our hearts. The faithful loving care this goose showed for her gander could be compared to fulfilling our own sacred marriage vows: “…in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.” If we humans could learn to set aside our petty differences and put our energy into maintaining healthy relationships like this, the traditional family with its wholesome values may again become the norm.