Gathering at the death of a goose

Gary Presley Contributing columnist

Gary Presley Contributing columnist

It was Josh who said we can usually ignore this stuff, but not when it happens at our front door.

That’s where the Canada goose died late the other evening.

He or she (I missed the “goose gender” class) may have been half of one of the mating pairs that we see at the office every year. The pair outside Amy’s window had seven goslings the other week.

Why else would the goose have chosen our doorstep to die on? The same place — it may have been the same goose — where we were honked and hissed at as we entered or left the building. The goose seemed to know it was home, a safe place to be.

Wildlife in peril can bring out good things in people. This goose may have threatened us and pooped all over our sidewalks, but it was our goose.

We don’t know how it was injured, but think being hit by a car broke its left leg and caused internal injuries. We’re just off a busy road, and the geese around here never pass up a chance to waddle across a busy road when they could fly over it.

We made numerous calls to see who would help an injured, protected bird, and came up with only one place north of here. They don’t pick animals up — it had to be transported there. Canada geese are protected but don’t have the cachet of raptors or baby deer. They’re seen more as a nuisance. By the time we learned it had to be transported, it was after 5 p.m. on a Thursday and they wouldn’t take the goose until Friday morning.

Jim searched the building for a suitable container for goose transport. Christine grabbed a towel from her car as goose swaddling. Stacey volunteered to drive out of her way to the place that takes injured wildlife. Cindy wanted to take it home and keep it safe, but was sure her husband would have a fit. Kathy checked on the goose from time to time to see how it was doing.

These are the kind of people I want to work with, to be with. The kind of people who get up from their desks in the middle of the night to spend a few minutes watching the space station’s point of light soar overhead, who gather a shard of a gosling’s eggshell from a nest. The kind of people who care about the world around them, whether it’s making sure the headline on an engagement notice is spelled correctly or trying to help a goose stay in this life a little longer.

The goose wasn’t doing well. Blood dripped from its beak. Its left leg stuck out at an awkward angle. It tried to move every so often, flapping its wings to move a little and poop a lot. After a time, it just rested the tip of its beak on the ground and breathed slowly.

The plan was Jim would take it home and drop it off at the wildlife place in the morning. People would keep an eye on the goose through the evening shift so neighborhood cats and coyotes wouldn’t get it. I headed home.

At 6:38 p.m. I got a text from Jim. “No more goose. He expired about 15 minutes ago and Josh and I boxed him up and put him in the Dumpster out back.”

We didn’t think the goose would make it, but held onto the hope that he might make it, until he was finally gone.

It was raining when I got to work Friday morning. At the edge of the roof, like they were manning the ramparts, were two honking geese. Coincidence, or cinematic post-credits scene of support for their deceased brethren?

I don’t know. But for a while the other afternoon, we pulled together to try to help. Like people do.

Gary Presley is the pagination director for AIM Media Midwest. You can reach him at [email protected]

Gary Presley Contributing columnist Presley Contributing columnist