A Golden Moment
by Virginia S. Padgett
I am a wildlife rehabilitator located in Chesapeake, Virginia. One of my most memorable stories is when three juvenile Canada geese were crossing the road and one was hit, sustaining a badly broken leg.
I got the goose and made a cast for his leg and kept him for some time. I watched him learn how to balance himself on one leg using his wings to balance. I eventually put him in my goose pen so he could see the migratory geese and mallard ducks come up from the river.
They talked to him, he talked to them. After several weeks, the cast came off and I put him in a pool; each day we had therapy to use the leg again. He continued to stay in the pen until one day, I noticed when the geese came up, he paced back and forth letting me know that although he had a limp, he was ready to go. Each day he was starting the day off by running and flapping his wings. He could hear the geese in the river as the parents were teaching the juveniles to fly.
I took him back to be joined by his siblings.
The scene I witnessed still gives me goosebumps and makes me get tears in my eyes. I put the carrier down and opened the door. He stepped out. The other geese there came over to him. Heads were going up and down and goose talk was all over the place. As they talked, about 50 more geese came up from the river. They were all overwhelmed to see the one goose. They started coming from everywhere. Then came the two siblings.
He ran to them when he saw them flapping his wings as if to say, "I'm well and I'm back and I've been practicing to fly."
I'll never, ever forget that story, and all of my efforts of rehabbing were worth that one moment that I witnessed.
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