• editor834

Christmas goose


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

Jo-Annie Gagnon of Le Nichoir taking Louis (or Louise) in to be examined.


We’ve had a number of multi-legged cohabitants over the years, besides the kids I mean. My son once found a spider so big that you could see its ‘fur’ coat. We kept it in an aquarium with a very secure lid so we were surprised to one day see that she had at some point laid eggs which had hatched. The aquarium was filled with what looked like hundreds of baby spiders. Within a couple of days, they were gone. I guess she was hungry.

Over the years, we’ve been temporary guardians to other creatures as well. Besides the kids I mean. There was Priscilla the Praying Mantis – the boys schooling me on the way to determine if it’s male or female – females have six abdominal segments while males have eight. We brought her in just as the weather was getting cold. Despite the live crickets we gave her, she didn’t survive very long.

We had better luck with Slimy, the garden snail, who lived happily munching lettuce in a clear vase for about six months.

We’ve nursed baby mice when the neighbour’s cat ate their mother and once had a cocoon brought indoors prematurely hatch into a gorgeous black and blue butterfly. In February.

I struggle with the cat and dog adoption pictures that we run every week in the paper as I keep convincing myself I can bring one more animal into the house.

By the time I’d adopted our third dog last year – a Chihuahua with a wonky jaw and feisty attitude – we already had a Doberman/German Shepherd mix, a Jack Russell/Beagle mix and a disgruntled cat with a horrible outlook on life. I now just have to hold up the page in the newspaper with the ‘Up for adoption’ pic to see hubby silently shaking his head, ‘No.’

Fine.

This maternal instinct is strong so when I got back from a grocery trip last Friday, my plan was to have a late lunch and go skating on Lac St-Louis as Mother Nature had graced us with a beautiful ice surface and half the family was already out there. As I was quickly heating up some soup, hubby came in.

“There’s a Canada goose on the ice that isn’t doing so well,” he said of the poor creature whose body heat had somewhat melted the ice surface and had then refrozen around its feathers. Despite its weakened state, it was still alive with clear eyes.

“We can’t leave it there,” I said as I got on to the phone to Le Nichoir Wild Bird Conservation Centre in Hudson.

My resourceful husband grabbed a small blanket and a large Costco grocery bag and headed back out to fetch ‘Louis,’ so dubbed for where he was found.

I had visions of driving down Highway 40 with a frantic Canada goose flapping around inside my Kia so I enlisted hubby’s help for the journey back to Hudson where Le Nichoir’s Education Co-ordinator Jo-Annie Gagnon assured me she wouldn’t leave until we got there.

For the record, a Costco shopping bag is not the best mode of transportation for a goose – a box would’ve been better – but, “You did what you could,” she assured us.

After a quick exam, Jo-Annie noted Louis was weak and exhausted and he was placed into a warm, isolated room for the night. She also said it’s almost impossible to tell if a goose is male or female without a very invasive procedure so its name might actually be Louise. Either way, it was in good hands.

Two days after arriving, Bird Care Coordinator Weiyi Liu gave me an update. Louis/Louise is still alive though showing signs of neurological damage, possibly from a collision. But he/she is receiving first class care and is getting appropriate drugs and nourishment.

Maybe we didn’t end up adopting another animal this year but this is the next best thing.

Happy holidays.