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Animal House: Canada Goose rescued from Highway 102 recovering at Hope for Wildlife

Gemma, the Canada Goose, had a near-death experience on Highway 102 this spring. She’s now being cared for at Hope for Wildlife in Seaforth.
Gemma, the Canada Goose, had a near-death experience on Highway 102 this spring. She’s now being cared for at Hope for Wildlife in Seaforth. - Contributed
TRURO, N.S. —

When my daughter and I spotted Gemma, the Canada Goose, she was sitting on one of the white lines on Highway 102. It was raining, and three lanes of traffic were speeding past the frightened bird.

I pulled the car over to the side of the road and reversed, hoping no one would strike the animal before we could get her off the road. Then my daughter, Kyna Porteous, jumped out and threw her hands up to get the attention of drivers. Traffic moved into the furthest lane and she ran out, threw her jacket over the bird and brought her back to the car. The bird was suffering obvious injuries, with feathers missing and blood dripping from her beak, but she remained quiet throughout the whole thing.

One other vehicle pulled over while we were rescuing the goose and the driver offered to call Hope for Wildlife. She got a message saying that any emergencies that evening, other than raccoons, should be taken to the Metro Animal Emergency Clinic, in Dartmouth. I put the address into my GPS and we turned around at the next exit.

The bird was quiet still as Kyna held her against her chest, with a blanket around her, but would pop her head up and look around whenever she heard the voice on the GPS.

We got her to the clinic and she was quickly hurried out back to be examined.

As we headed home, Kyna said she’d decided to name the bird after my GPS because she always responded to the voice on it. During a trip a few weeks earlier, I had named my GPS Gemma.

A couple of days later, I spoke with Hope Swinimer, of Hope for Wildlife. She told me the goose had wounds but no broken bones and was being given pain medication and antibiotics. Bloodwork was done and, although there was some lead in her system, levels weren’t high enough to cause concern. We hope she will soon be enjoying life in the wild again.

Swinimer said many of the Canada Geese the centre gets are babies.

“We’re often able to match them with parents in the lake nearby,” she said. “There’s a window of opportunity when they will accept other young.”

Wild animals are often hit by cars, and Swinimer reminds people to put safety first when taking part in a rescue.

“If you can get the animal safely and get it to a rehab centre or vet right away that’s best,” she said. “The quicker they’re on pain medication and stabilized the better.”

Although we don’t know who the other driver was who stopped along the road that day, my daughter and I appreciate her help and compassion. We’d like to see more drivers like her.

I’m also very proud of my daughter, who is always ready to do whatever she can to help an animal in need.

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