Susie-Q was among the first of my geese to arrive here and to show me just how wonderful these lovely, large creatures are.

We adopted her and her sister, Sal Gal, from a family in Wayne. Susie-Q was always a good mother and aunt as goslings hatched each season.

This past weekend, she died, leaving a huge hole in my flock.

She wasn’t injured. I think she passed because of her age, which I estimated at about 14 or 15 years. She is buried at the edge of the back lawn, wrapped in a blue towel, with a pile of rocks protecting the grave.

When she and Sal Gal first arrived, they immediately decided they’d take off down our country road.

Since my Sebastipol geese didn’t fly, I didn’t think too much about Sal Gal and Susie-Q leaving the pen, but they did. They flew over the wire, and out they went. The two of them waddled down the road toward a neighbor’s house about a quarter-mile away.

Since geese can be herded, my husband thought, why not herd them with his car. So he did.

He turned Susie-Q and Sal Gal around, then slowly herded them back to our house. We decided that clipping their wings was a wise thing to do.

Whenever her sister, Sal Gal, had goslings, Susie-Q was the perfect aunt. She would nestle next to Sal Gal and the goslings to make sure they were warm enough when they hatched in April or May.

Later, she produced her own babies — Ossie and Gossie, and Summer and Solstice, among them. All four of this year’s goslings are gray and white, very similar to Susie-Q. And all four of them will hold eye contact with me, and make their whistles to speak, which they will do for another few weeks.

She and Finny got along well. I think a couple of her babies were his.

Susie-Q got along well with all of the geese.

During the past few weeks, I had often seen her standing alone when I let the geese out to graze. Having witnessed such unusual actions before, and knowing that geese are no happier than when they are with the flock, I knew something was wrong.

Sure enough, she also kept to herself in the pen, and stayed as far away as she could from the others. I knew it would be a very short time before she would leave the flock permanently.

On Friday night, I picked her up from behind the goose coop, and took her into the garage and placed her in a large, plastic tub filled with hay and containers of water and pellets. She didn’t fight me. Since geese do not like to be touched, I knew for sure that she was sick.

I stayed with her for a couple of hours, but I knew she would most likely pass during the night. She did.

I love my geese and all of our pets. The worst thing about having these wonderful creatures, whether geese, kitties, our beloved dog, or ducks, is that they die.

So I thank Susie-Q for 12 wonderful years. She was a great goose.

Eileen M. Adams has been raising pet geese for more than a dozen years. She may be reached at [email protected]

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