5 min read

Woman Waits By Injured Goose’s Side For Hours Until Help Arrives

One by one, the snow geese in the canal near Melissa Di Stefano's house were disappearing.

At first, there were three geese in the small canal in downtown Montreal. But one flew away. And a second goose broke his wing.

Di Stefano, who passed by the canal just about every day, believes animal control took away the injured bird, never to be seen again.

That left just one lonesome goose in the canal.

"I saw that the last one was all alone," she tells The Dodo. "It was really depressing. She had nowhere to go.

"I felt her pain."

Melissa Di Stefano

So Di Stefano, who once ran an animal rescue group, spent hours sitting beside the bird, "just to keep her company."

That's when Di Stefano noticed something very wrong with the animal. One of her wings jutted out unnaturally, higher than the other wing.

"She just kept gnawing at it," Di Stefano recalls.

And then she suddenly understood why this snow goose was in the middle of Montreal.

"I realized she couldn't fly," she says. "Everyone had left her. She had nowhere to go and no one to help her."

Melissa Di Stefano

Well, except for the animal rescuer who lived next door.

Di Stefano worked the phone incessantly over a span of just two days. She ended up calling more than 20 rescues. She called contacts and networked with them to reach rescue groups across Canada and the U.S. All to no avail.

They were either too busy or too full or some combination of both.

"It was really discouraging," she explains. "There was nothing about that that made me feel this could be done."

Until she got through to a sanctuary called Refuge RR, nearly 70 miles away in the small town of Alexandra, Ontario.

Melissa Di Stefano

Di Stefano recalls their response over the phone at 8 o'clock on a Friday night: "Their first answer was, 'Yes. No problem. Where Are you? I'll send someone immediately.'"

By the time Rob Boisvert and Carlos Justiceos of Refuge RR arrived, the canal and its loneliest resident were fully submerged in darkness. But there was hope.

A couple of men in a canoe had agreed to block the skittish goose from slipping away into the canal. The rescuers formed a loose circle around her.

It became a circle of trust. The encircled goose kept gravitating toward Di Stefano.

Melissa Di Stefano

"The entire time, she was just staring at me," Di Stefano said. "She had already formed an attachment. She trusted me. It was really touching."

Melissa Di Stefano

Not long after that, the injured bird was transported to another sanctuary hundreds of miles away. That's where staff will determine the extent of her injury and rehabilitate her with an eye for returning her to the wild.

Melissa Di Stefano

All because someone took the time to listen to a lonesome goose.

Melissa Di Stefano

Want to support Refuge RR and its mission to rescue countless animals in need? Consider making a donation here.