With a little help, her reluctant feathered friends learned to love the water.
Story and photos by Jeremie Webb
My family’s little Colorado farm is a magical place in spring and summer. As I sit with my morning cup of coffee and watch bunnies munch the grass and baby robins bounce through the flowers, I can’t help but think this place is just like Doctor Dolittle’s farm.
Lately I have enjoyed raising three goslings we bought for my dad on Easter weekend. Growing up, we had just about every farm animal—horses, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, calves, even llamas—but never geese. They follow me everywhere, and it warms my heart. I feel like Mother Goose.
Recently I decided it was time for them to learn they could swim. Quickly, however, I discovered they were terrified of the water. Taking them down to the pond and letting them play by the water’s edge yielded no results. Placing them in the pond traumatized them. I was getting frustrated. Didn’t they know they were geese?
One day I decided I’d had enough. Putting on some old clothes, I grabbed an inner tube and set off with the goslings for the pond. My dad put one on my lap, and I proceeded to paddle out. We just floated along for a few minutes until I felt her relax. Then I gently put her down in the water beside me.
My goodness! I knew Jesus walked on water, but apparently so do geese when they are motivated. She took off running for shore so fast I don’t think she even got wet.
I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of the tube. Finally we decided that maybe I should take two out at a time so they would have company. Once I had the two white ones settled into my lap, I paddled out again. But by this time the third gosling had decided she was lonely and took the plunge.
As she came flying across the water to join the party, she spooked the other two. Very quickly, all three geese were in the water and scrambling to get back in my lap. Amid a chorus of beeps and honks, half a dozen wings and legs flapped and splashed in every direction.
It took a minute, but they all got up on my lap. I felt like a goose island. Mom and Dad were nearly on the ground with laughter.
Almost daily since then, my goslings have had swimming lessons. While there have been some hilarious moments, I’m happy to say they no longer need any prompting to get in the water. They never stray very far from me, though.
Before long I’ll be out on my own, away from the farm where I grew up, but this has been the most amazing time. I am blessed that growing up here has been so special.