Just because animals don’t make formal wedding vows doesn’t mean they’re not bonded for life.
Staff members at the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts, have noticed a mated pair of Canada geese who live near the pond by their office for several years.
Canada geese are monogamous and mate for life. Apparently, they take an unofficial “in sickness and in health” vow as well!
One summer day, staffers noticed that the male goose, whom they named Arnold, was limping pretty badly. The geese are wild and normally avoid humans, but it soon became clear that he needed medical attention. The wildlife rescuers managed to catch Arnold and give him an exam, where they discovered that he had a badly broken foot.
“Our best guess is that a snapping turtle or other predator attacked him while swimming,” they wrote on Facebook. “In order to save the foot, and give him a chance at survival, we knew we had to perform surgery to amputate one of the digits and suture the other wound closed.”
The next morning, they were poised to sedate Arnold and start his surgery when they heard a tapping at the clinic door. When they investigated, they found that Arnold’s mate had realized where they were keeping him and was “attempting to break in.”
“She remained there throughout the entire procedure, watching us work, never moving from the doorway,” they wrote.
Arnold’s surgery was a success, but he needs to stay in the animal hospital for several weeks for his injury to fully heal. When his mate refused to budge from the doorway in the meantime, they decided to get a bit creative.
“For the safety of our patients we do not accommodate visitation requests, but in this case we had to make an exception!” the shelter wrote.
They moved Arnold to a different room so he could recover by the doorway where his mate was anxiously waiting. As soon as she saw that he was OK, she calmed down and started to groom him through the open door. The staff members all noticed how much more relaxed both birds were when they were together!
Zach Mertz, the executive director of Cape Wildlife Center, said seeing the obvious love and devotion between these animals boosted everyone’s mood.
“It definitely did a lot to raise spirits in our hospital,” he said. “We deal with a lot of sick and injured animals this time of year, and to see a positive story like this really made everybody pretty happy.”
These two sweethearts are so lucky to live next door to an animal hospital! Cape Wildlife Center said they will do their best to keep the lovebirds together as Arnold recuperates. We have a feeling Arnold is going to be just fine with all the “mother hen” love he’ll be getting!
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