by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter
Lynn Knutson of Otsego was driving down her street on a bitterly cold day when she noticed a goose that looked hurt or sick in a ditch in front of one of her neighbors’ homes. It wasn’t until days later that she learned that it was a domestic brown goose that had been shot by someone with a pellet gun and had been suffering for days from a broken wing and leg.
At first glance, Knutson wasn’t sure what was wrong with the goose or what she could do for it. So she went home, got some corn and bread, and brought it to the goose.
“The goose ate the food, which I thought was a good sign,” she recalled.
The next afternoon, she noticed that the goose was in the same spot. She had no idea where the animal came from. None of her neighbors keep geese. But she knew that if she didn’t intervene, there would not be a happy ending for this bird.
She raced home and grabbed a huge dog crate she had in the garage. Then she enlisted the help of a teenage neighbor and his two friends. It ended up taking the inexperienced group 20 minutes just to get the goose loaded into the crate.
“It was trying its best to get away from us, but it just got stuck in some thorn bushes. It spread its wings out and you could see how horribly broken its leg was,” she said.
Knutson and the teenagers finally managed to get it wrapped up in a blanket and into the dog crate. She loaded the crate up and hit the road, just in time to pick up her children from school.
When Knutson’s 11-year-old daughter got in the car, she gave the crate a funny look. It had belonged to their dog who had to be put to sleep two years ago. “Then she said, ‘Oh my God, mom, what did you do?’” Knutson recalled with a laugh.
Because of a terrible snowstorm and traffic, it took the family three hours to reach the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley. Despite battling the elements with an injured goose, her daughter and her 9- and 5-year-old sons, she’s glad her children were a part of the endeavor.
“I’m so thrilled my kids could be a part of this thing. I want them to grow up and be compassionate people,” she said.
The Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley is the only animal welfare organization in the state of to hold a permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that allows them to have specially trained and licensed wildlife rehabilitators on staff.
The staff took the goose to see a veterinarian, who determined that it had been shot in the leg by someone with a pellet gun. It had been trying to use its wing as a crutch, which resulted in the wing becoming injured as well. The goose also had frostbite on its beak and feet. This veterinarian determined that the animal could not be saved.
Not to be deterred, though, they sought a second opinion from a veterinarian in Elk River. This doctor determined that the goose was a good candidate for surgery and performed the 3.5-hour operation free of charge.
Knutson understands that some people might feel like it was a lot of fuss over just one goose, but she believes the animal deserves a second chance after all of the suffering it had to endure.
“My husband’s a hunter. I grew up with my dad hunting. That’s fine. But there’s a way that it’s supposed to be done. Whoever did this to this goose, it was just cruel,” she expressed.
Currently, the goose is recovering from surgery and will begin rehabilitation when it’s ready. There is a family that works with the Humane Society that keeps a flock of domestic geese. When this goose is back on its feet, literally, it will have a safe home to go to.