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Forty Years with Birds and Dogs 

Lucy Goose

Lucy and adopted daughter Bobbie last winter

We inherited Lucy the goose in 2002, when my vet, who lives next door, said she would have to put an ad in the paper. She couldn’t keep a goose in the house.

What could she do? Her aunt and grandmother had driven Lucy all the way from Wyoming “for safe keeping.” A fox had killed her two nestlings the night Grandma adopted them from very loving 4-H girls. 4-H projects and their required reports are not trivial, nor are the girls’ emotional attachment to the animals they have raised.

The problem—Lucy didn’t care for little boys chasing her, and she continually knocked on the vet’s sliding glass doors, wanting to be with the woman in the house. Having been raised by girls, she thought the male species was from another planet.

My hen house and pen were available, so I said—not realizing that geese live 25 to 30 years—“I’ll take her. We’ve got room.”

Young Lucy fit right in, with Little Bear the turkey, White Silkie hen Fluffy, and two Polish chicks sporting creative feather-dos (another story for another day). The young dogs DeeDee and Scooter--our pointer-heeler mix fugitives from the 2000 fire, two-for-the-price-of-one, fire-sale-dogs—understood they had another bird to watch. Lucy ignored them, thanks to her good sense.

Lucy made her gustatory tastes quite evident from the start. Sheets of music at our Ladies Friday Afternoon Recorder Tootling Society were especially delicious. She listened for a while, but absolutely refused to go into the expansive ponds our hostess wanted her to try. To this day she prefers bath tubs that fit her, where she can keep her feet securely planted on solid Earth. It’s amazing how she manages to use her neck for a washrag, dipping her beak into a bowl of water not much bigger than her big soft torso, and keeping herself sparkling white every day, nearly.

Lucy’s taste in people did change over time. At first men were not acceptable. I think she decided they couldn’t be too bad, if turkey hung around all day, mooning over the neighbor as he fixed the chicken pen fence post (another story …). Then husband Don won her over with honey dew melon rinds, not too green, definitely not too ripe.

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