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  • Writer's pictureTina

Go With Dignity and Grace

Goostavia, when she was strong and healthy

“What is lovely never dies, but passes into other loveliness, Star-dust, or sea-foam, flower or winged air.” — Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Yesterday, we made the difficult decision to humanely put my grumpy, gimpy goose, Goostavia, to rest. Goostavia was one of the OG’s or original geese here on our farm. Five of our geese are now pushing thirty years of age. We did not make this decision lightly. Although some may say she was just a goose, she was a pet, friend, and part of our farm family. Goostavia has walked with a limp for years. She suffered an unknown injury when my parents were still here. Her limp became more pronounced as she aged, eventually altering her mobility.

For over a year and a half, we have lovingly, religiously gathered Goostavia up at night and placed her in the small green chicken coop for safekeeping. We have catered to her needs and comfort, providing her with her own set of feed bowls, fresh water throughout the day, treats, and snacks, and making sure her injured leg remained healthy. I would carry her to the pond so she could swim and exercise, staying with her until she had had her fill of the water. I would move her to the shade and sit with her on hot days. I would take a broom and chase the bullying gaggle of geese away from her, keeping her safe and giving her some dignity.

Although grumpy, I do believe she appreciated my attempts to make her comfortable. This past week, I gave her daily doses of meloxicam to help ease her discomfort. The anti-inflammatory seemed to make her more comfortable, but I knew my time with her was approaching. The last two days, she spent her time flattened out against the ground with her wings spread. It seemed this was the only position that gave her any relief. Being unable to walk properly, she had taken to spinning in a circle on her breast. When a sore on her breast developed, I knew it was time for us to give her peace and allow her to move on to the next life with some amount of dignity.

Some may be aghast at our decision to put her down. Know that as a farmer and stewards of all these wonderful creatures, we do our best and never make decisions about our farm family without care, concern, heartbreak, and sadness. My bib overall-wearing buddy concurred with my decision with a heavy heart. I went to the tree line and dug a small grave for our feathered friend. I then gave her fresh water, a treat of mill worms, fresh kale, and an extra ration of her regular feed, which she willingly shared with two of our hens, Jordan Short and Blanche. Jordan Short and Blanche would sit with Goostavia under the tree in the front yard and eat breakfast with her every morning. Goostavia had no time for any other hens but these two. I like to think they had formed a friendship. She spent her last day in comfort and peace with creatures who valued her, cared for her, and loved her.

As the sun was setting, Eric and Jordan buried Goostavia in the small grave I had dug. Eric wanted me to remember Goostavia as she was, charmingly grumpy and dignified. She lived a good long life, and we appreciate all she brought to our farm. I must admit, the thought of not going out this morning to feed her and lower her to the ground makes me sad. I will miss that grumpy girl, but I appreciate the time she had here and know that she is now whole, swimming in a lovely pond with those who have gone before her. I hope she knows that she and her life were valued while she was here. I would like to think my dad is throwing cracked corn to her now and complaining about the green poo she leaves everywhere. I would also like to think my Westie, Walter, is having a good roll in said green poo. Walter did love goose poo.

Be they feathered or furred with two legs or four, we love our farm family. Some take hold of our heartstrings and tug and hold on forever. Although she may be just a goose, she became a loved pet. And although she remained cantankerous and grumpy, we loved and appreciated her. She was indeed lovely. Rest in peace, dear Goostavia. I hope you are waiting for me when my time comes. Please give Walter a nip on the tail and tell him how much I miss him. I miss you too, old friend.

On this overcast summer day, stay safe, be smart, give dignity and grace when possible, understand that hard things must be done for love, and keep washing your hands.

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3 commentaires

I’m so very sorry . This is one of the hardest things in life . I cried as I read your story of Goostavia’s wonderful life spent with you .


20 juil. 2023

My eyes filled with tears as I read this. Decisions like that are very hard, she lived a good life.

Rest in Peace Goostavia.❤


20 juil. 2023

So sorry about Goostavia! I cried as I read your blog....I know how hard it is to make that decision and have to say goodbye. But hopefully knowing you gave Goostavia such a good life helps ease the hurt. Thinking of you!!

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