A lesson I have had to learn within rescue is that doing the right thing isn’t always doing the easy thing. This has been something that you re-learn over and over again, and for the most part it has been when I have realised that I can’t keep every unreleasable bird / animal that comes into the rescue.
Sometimes you have to acceept that even if you love something that doesn’t mean you are the best home for it. A conclusion that I recently came to with our rescue geese Charlie, Mary Bobbins and George.
Charlie is a domestic breed who came to me last year. His Mum was killed and he was rescued and brought to us. He was still quite young and took to following me everywhere. He slept indoors for a short time because my stag turkey Spartacus took a dislike to him. When people came to visit the rescue to drop off injured birds Charlie was there to introduce himself – often pulling them around by the toggles on their jackets. He quickly became a part of our little family. He also developed a very loud honk.
When Mary Bobbins arrived (a tame Canada Goose) Charlie hated her. Whenever she came up to him he would jump onto tables, pianos, anything at hand to get away from her. When I moved them both outside they developed a bond which saw Mary Bobbins following Charlie around and even to their coop at night-time. George (another tame Canada Goose) arrived last weekend and quickly joined the other two in creating a little flock.
The problem is that in rescue you have very limited room. Your job is to take birds / animals in that are sick or injured and that means that keeping anything long-term is sacrificing a rescue space.
I contacted a friend of mine who lives in a beautiful part of Yorkshire. She has land, lots of love and is devoted to her animals. She offered to take Charlie and Mary Bobbins in (George too). Which means that on Saturday we are driving the three of them to their new home where they will have more space, more attention and (as long as they get on with her goose) a permanent home.
To me it is vital as a rescuer that when you do rehome a bird / animal you know it is going to the best place – and you know that if anything changes it will come back to you. In the past we have faced issues with this as a lot of other rescues have – people adopt or foster and when situations change they don’t consult you and will rehome themselves. We have adoption forms but when it is a friend you don’t always feel the need to have these completed – you trust the person to do the right thing and this can be problematic (and can destroy friendships sadly). It is never helpful to a rescue to cut them out – it is never “saving them trouble” – because that rescue has trusted you to adopt / foster from them and looking after birds / animals is not “trouble” to them – it’s their sole purpose.
When Charlie, Mary Bobbins and George go their new home I know it will be the perfect place – a place I would pitch a tent and live if I thought nobody would notice. I also know that the lady running it is as trustworthy as they come and will always return to us if needed. I will be taking some forms though – because I’ve had my fingers burned one too many times and as a rescue paperwork is vital.
I am going to miss my three little geese. I am going to struggle saying goodbye (especially to Charlie). As I drive home I’ll know that it was the right decision for all of us – for 3 happy geese, a happy new owner, all the birds that will need those spaces to recuperate and for me because I did the right thing for them.