A woman who is terrified of birds rescued an injured gosling four years ago – and now has a unique bond with a fully-grown goose.
Gabby Bailey, 22, found the baby gosling at the side of the road four years ago and thought she had no choice but to nurse him back to health, as his family were killed when they were hit by a car.
She took the tiny bird home and cared for him every day, then over the years the pair became incredibly close and now they are inseparable.
Gabby, who named her pet goose Pancake, said that the bird has completely changed her life – and she “wouldn’t trade it for the world’.
Gabby said: “He is a four-year-old house goose, I believe Roman cross Pilgrim but he’s a rescue so we’re not sure. I’ve had him for four years this year.
“His family was sadly hit by a car and he needed a safe place to stay. I never wanted a goose, I was terrified of geese – I thought they were as scary as anything.
“I was attacked by one as a kid but pancake has taught me that geese aren’t scary – they’re actually incredibly loving friendly animals who just have a bad rep.
“He’s amazing, we do a lot of stuff together like going to the beach or watching movies, he loves space and dinosaur movies, he loves going on bush walks, cuddling in bed, snuggling up in blankets, he’s a very spoiled boy.”
Gabby, from New Zealand, said that she had a unique bond with pancake and the pair spend all their time together – even going out on day trips.
She continued: “Our bond is very different – some days he loves me, can’t get enough of me, and others he doesn’t ever want to look at me and wants to do his own thing.
“On the days he does want stuff to do with me he’s right under my feet, we snuggle in bed, he gives me kisses, he tries to steal all my food.
“He’s very vocal, they scream all day or night – they have all sorts of vocalisations from little whispers to loud ear-piercing screams.
“We have had plenty of interesting reactions from people, they don’t normally see a goose as a pet like that, especially when we go out to pet shops or the beach, we get a lot of people staring.
“A lot of people are quite intimated to come up and meet him because he’s a goose and so many people are scared of him but I think we’ve changed a lot of people’s thoughts on them, showing that they aren’t scary.
“Once I was pushing him in a pram to get some snacks from town and an old friend from school saw me and said, ‘oh my gosh, I had no idea you had a baby – congratulations’, and when she looked in the pram Pancake honked in her face, so that was funny. He is my baby though.”
Despite their bond, Gabby said that she faces stigma for having an unusual pet but she can’t understand why as to her one animal is the same as the next.
She added: “A lot of people ask me, ‘why a goose’, and, ‘why does he live inside’, and honestly I don’t see why not, you know?
“Why have a dog living inside, why have a cat inside, he does not like outside, he doesn’t like the wet or rain, he screams if it’s training.
“He likes to sit on heat packs or under the heater, he loves the pampered life.
“I grew up with cats and dogs and I loved them, but they weren’t for me so I went down the exotic route.
“I’ve rescued things like Pancake, possums, rats, birds, reptiles and that was definitely more my thing you know, I prefer that lot more and they have a way different personality.
“It’s not like anything you’ve ever really seen before or felt before, they’re love is very strong but very different. They’re very grumpy, very emotional creatures – emotions run anything.
“Pancake got really pissy because we got a new duck and he didn’t look at me for a whole week, he wouldn’t acknowledge my existence because he was upset.”
Besides Pancake, Gabby also has lots of fish, a possum, three rats, six parrots, seven reptiles, and three frogs – and said caring for them takes up all her time.
She concluded: “I’m a stay-at-home goose mum, I run a small animal rescue and spend my time helping them recover and stuff.
“You can’t really have a full-time job with a house goose because they demand so much time with nappy changes, and just being around them.
“They are a flock animal so you become their flock – you can’t just leave all day as they would get depressed – they need to be around you and in your presence.
“Pancake is a spectacular animal who makes me laugh every day, he keeps me guessing and he keeps me busy. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
“A lot of the time I think what would have happened if I got a puppy instead of a goose and where I’d be today and I don’t think I’d have as many crazy stories or adventures.
“He’s truly changed my life for the better, he’s amazing and more people need to give geese a chance. They just love so much.”