Animal Care is Rewarding
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Animal Care is Rewarding
by Linda Gould Steffey

Throughout my life, I have had many kinds of animals I have raised as pets. I hold them all closely to my heart for their love and companionship. I have found their trust and loyalty far outshines that of humankind. I have found they can teach us so much about being brave and loving unconditionally and I will always want animals in my life for as long as I can care for them well.

We bought a pair of geese one spring. One was a female Chinese goose I named Su and her mate was a white goose I named Goose, because he would "goose" you if he could. Su was a special creature. We could pick her up any old time and carry her around and she was always gentle and would always seek out our company.

We adopted them when they were both two weeks old. They would follow us all around the yard talking to us whenever we came outside. At night, they stayed in a box in our kitchen until they were too big and then for a while they stayed at night in a large run outside. They loved the creek and soon begin staying out all night on the creek. Whenever I wanted to know where they were, I would make a honking noise and if they were in ear-shot of me, they would answer me and come waddling up into the yard for their corn.

The first spring after maturing found Su on a nest under our bedroom window with Goose close by her side.

One night, I was woken up by Su's and Goose's calling out that alerted me she was in some kind of trouble! We ran out into the night to see what was wrong. A raccoon had decided that some goose eggs would taste good and had come too close to the setting Su and she had attacked the coon and when we found her, the raccoon had grabbed her by her neck and was biting it. We chased it off and took Su to the garage, washed her wound and wrapped it up in a bandage so that she actually looked like Mother Goose when we finished. She stayed in there two days to make sure she was okay and since Goose knew she was in there and wanted to be with her, we opened the small garage door and he came trotting in. After those two days and nights, I released them back outside.

For the first three nights at dusk, we would get her and carry her into the garage for the night and Goose would come running behind us to join her there. We were touched by his devotion to her. We took off her bandage and she was fine so that next night, we had not planned to take her to the garage any longer. We were amazed, however, that when dusk fell that night, she climbed the back steps to our sliding door waiting for us to come and get her in! She knew she could trust us and this is what endures animals to my heart!

They do not speak our language, but they know when people care about them and love them and they respond in kind.

They must have been at least 12 years old when Goose become ill and we had our vet put him to sleep. Our dear neighbor felt so bad that Su was alone that she bought us another Chinese goose we named Lu. Su had many nests full of eggs, but never produced any young with either mate. One night, Su and Lu went down to the creek as always. I became aware the next day of Lu calling and calling for Su, but she never again came home. We do not know what happened to her.

Lu has plenty of Canada friends today who come for our corn. They, also, trust us not to harm them yet they are wild. We did not raise Lu from a baby, but he has come to trust us just the same. God's creatures are all beautiful and their personalities are just as unique as our own. They enrich our lives so much and we should always care for them as God cares for us.

Linda Gould Steffey :)

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