We have geese. For one more day, anyway.
We took them in about a month ago.
But I knew right away they weren't a good fit for our household.
They bothered me. For reasons I still can't quite name, we just were not a love match. And they had to go. Still, I gave it a shot, and waited until a week ago to ask River's Wish to make room for the birds. The hubs and I, it turns out, are not geese people.
So they were to go live at the sanctuary, where they would room with some lucky chickens.
Then tonight while out weeding in the rain, I glanced over to the pear tree, where the geese were chilling out. Broken Wing (the boy) was curled up under the tree, while Snippet (his gal) honked and walked over him. Back and forth. Trying to rouse him, but he was gone.
He was very old. The woman who owned them before us got them as chicks 21 years ago. And they had very unusually happy little goose lives. And, like I said, I don't care for geese all that much.
Even so, it is not at all easy to watch Snippet anguish over her fallen beau. In fact it is hard. She seems distressed, but calm as long as she can stand over his body. It's moving to witness such devotion in simple creatures.
Tomorrow she will go to River's Wish alone, and hopefully live in peace with the chickens, though it is more likely she will soon die of grief. That is common with bonded birds, and rabbits too.
I learned tonight that if you have to take a bonded bird or rabbit to the vet to be euthanized, you're supposed to bring the body back home to his companion so that she can sit with him and grieve a while.
I do not mind having to stay close to home to care for our critters (I'm not much of a traveler); I don't mind the messes they make or the (many) pieces of furniture, books, parts of our house, etc. that our rabbits have destroyed; and when they get sick or injured, I will gladly pay large vet bills, and be grateful to have access to the means to make them well again.
But nights like this are the one drawback I see to having pets. It's hard to see them suffer. Even the ones I don't like.