‘We heard a faint tapping’: Goose finds injured mate at wildlife hospital, waits outside door


(Courtesy: New England Wildlife Centers Cape Cod Branch)

BARNSTABLE, Mass. (WPRI) ─ An unexpected visitor at a Massachusetts wildlife hospital Wednesday gave the phrase “through sickness and health” a whole new meaning.

The story begins with a Canada goose named Arnold.

Arnold and his mate, according to Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, have lived on a pond near the facility for several years.

“They are totally wild and usually keep to themselves when people are around,” the wildlife hospital posted on its Facebook page.

But on Tuesday, staff members noticed Arnold began walking with a limp and kept falling over.

After catching him and bringing him inside, the wildlife hospital discovered Arnold had two open fractures on his foot.

“Our best guess is that a snapping turtle or other predator attacked him while swimming,” the hospital wrote, adding that it was apparent Arnold would need surgery to repair the injured foot.

Fast forward to Wednesday. As staff members were preparing Arnold for surgery, the wildlife hospital said they could hear a faint tapping at the clinic door.

“We turned to see that his mate had waddled up onto the porch and was attempting to break into our clinic,” the wildlife hospital wrote. “She had somehow located him and was agitated that she could not get inside.”

The wildlife hospital said after the surgery, which was successful, staff members let him recover by the door next to his mate.

“His mate immediately calmed down and began to groom him through the door. They both seemed much more at ease in each other’s presence,” the wildlife hospital wrote.

Arnold will need several weeks to recover from the surgery before he’s able to rejoin his mate in the wild, however, the wildlife hospital said it plans to “get him back out quickly and will perform bandage changes and treatments in view of the doorway when possible so that his mate can check up on him.”

Canada geese, which live to about 25 years of age in the wild, usually find a mate around the age of 3 and will stay with their partners for life, Department of Natural Resources experts say.

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