Maple Farm Animal Sanctuary - Mendon MASS
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A Special Valentine's Day Love Story

Just in time for Valentine's Day, here is the story of one of our most rowdy residents and his special lady:

As the unofficial leader and loudest member of Maple Farm Sanctuary’s avian welcoming committee, Romeo goose can often be seen—and very much heard—honking his heart out as he waddles over to sanctuary guests when they arrive on the property. It’s part cordial and part territorial, and all in character for White Chinese Geese, who are known for being very vocal.
But while Romeo may intimidate some people, he more than lives up to his namesake when it comes to others. In fact, he even has a human “girlfriend” who he absolutely adores.
That lucky lady, volunteer Kimberley Mansfield, says it took a little while for Romeo to warm up to her after he arrived at MFS with two other White Chinese Geese, Lady and Mercutio, in September 2015. The trio was surrendered because their owners (and their neighbors) felt they were too loud.
“When Romeo first arrived with his counterparts, they weren't very friendly,” says Mansfield. “However, they seemed to want attention, and soon Romeo started to flirt with me, so I called him my ‘boyfriend.’”
Enticed by his favorite treat of kale, Romeo began stopping by to see Mansfield regularly while she worked inside the barn cutting up fruits and vegetables for the animals.
“Romeo started looking for me when he knew I was there. He would actually look in the window to find me, so I began leaving the door open so he could visit,” says Mansfield. “Then I started sitting next to him not knowing if he would peck me. He would just sit with me and check out my hat and sweatshirt.”
She continues, “One day, Romeo followed me to my car and while I was getting something from the trunk he started weaving through my legs. I was able to pet him, and from there he wanted me to pick him up and hold him.”

The two friends now have several well-worn routines.
Says Mansfield, “As soon as I get to MFS I yell, ‘where's my little boyfriend?’ and Romeo starts squawking and makes his way over to me. In the winter he lets me pet him. In the summer, I sit with him and he stands on my legs and will sometimes climb on my head. Other times he wants me to pick him up and we take a walk!”

The one downside of having a special bond with a goose is their tendency to get jealous, a characteristic shared by both Romeo and the two geese he arrived with.
“Romeo becomes territorial depending on who is near me. He doesn't want to share me,” says Mansfield. “On the other side, the other geese don't like him getting attention from me at all. He now acts as a barrier between us and will get in front of them and reach his neck out so they can't peck me.”

Despite their sometimes rough nature, Mansfield believes that geese like Romeo often get a bad rap.

“People have a misconception about geese—that they just want to chase and attack humans,” says Mansfield. “However, like with any other animal, you should just let them come to you and pay attention to their behavior. With some time and patience, you could gain a new feathered friend!”

Below: Kim greets Romeo at the sanctuary.