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Widowed cemetery goose finds companionship through a personal ad

As It Happens5:50Widowed cemetery goose finds companionship through a personal ad

Two grieving geese in Iowa have found solace in each other after meeting through a personal ad shortly after Valentine’s Day.

Geese usually mate for life, so when Blossom and Frankie lost their respective partners, they both appeared to become lonely and despondent.

But that all changed when Frankie’s owners answered a Facebook personal ad written by Blossom’s caretaker that read: “Lonely, widowed domestic goose seeks life partner for companionship and occasional shenanigans.”

“They have been inseparable ever since,” Dorie Tammen, who wrote the ad, told As It Happens host Nil Köksal. “I don’t think they’ve been more than a few feet away from each other.”

From ‘lively’ to lonely 

Tammen is the manager of Riverside Cemetery in Marshalltown, Iowa, a lakeside property where many waterfowl make their home.

Blossom has lived in the cemetery for five years along with her mate, Bud. But after Bud died in August, Tammen said, Blossom just didn’t seem the same.

“We started to notice that she was really seeming lonely and isolating herself,” Tammen said.

The usually cheerful creature ignored the other ducks and geese, and spent most of her time alone staring forlornly at her own reflection in the cemetery office window or the shiny sample monument just outside.

“It was clear that she was lonely and she needed a partner,” Tammen said.

Two side-by-side pictures of the same goose looking at its own reflection, once in a glass door, and once in a shiny memorial headstone.
Blossom took to staring at her own reflection after her mate, Bud, died. (Riverside Cemetery/Facebook)

So she set about finding her one, penning a personal ad.

It reads: “Come share life with me at Riverside Cemetery, where you will enjoy swimming in the lovely lake, good food, numerous friends and peeking in the door of the office building at the strange but kind humans there who feed us lots of goodies. I’m youthful, adventurous and lively, and I’ve been told I’m beautiful.”

‘Handsome’ honker answers the call

Deb Hoyt, who runs a horse rescue farm in nearby Runnells, Iowa, answered the call.

The timing was perfect. She also had a grieving goose who’d lost his mate, and she’s getting ready to close her farm and move out of state.

She and her husband had a pair of geese, mates named Handsome and Gretel. (“Because he’s just such a beautiful bird,” she said). When Gretel died, they renamed the waddling widower Frankie.

Two white geese swim in an icy lake surrounded by ducks, Canada geese, and swans.
Blossom and Frankie share their home with ducks, swans and other Canada geese. (Riverside Cemetery/Facebook)

And much like Blossom, Frankie wasn’t faring well after his loss.

“He was sad. He was lonely. He just hung out with us, you know, whenever we were outside. In the winters, it was especially hard because we’re not outside very much,” Hoyt said.

“Every time I opened the door, he’d be honking at me, going ‘Hey, what are you doing? Come here!'”

The big day

Tammen and Hoyt arranged to have their lovelorn birds meet at the cemetery on Valentine’s Day. 

“It did not go well at all,” Hoyt said.

It was a grey, rainy day, and Frankie, stressed from the drive over, immediately took off over the lake and disappeared. Tammen, Hoyt and others looked for him all day, to no avail.

“I was so upset and my husband was so upset. We didn’t even hardly eat supper. I was like, ‘I don’t even want to eat. Where’s our Frankie?'” she said. “I was laying in bed just praying, ‘Please don’t let anything happen to Frankie’ … and then the phone rang.”

It was Tammen. Frankie had returned to the cemetery the very next day.

“We got him in the car and we brought him back up to our office where Blossom was and let him go there right in front of her,” she said.

This time, it was love at first sight.

“I have a beautiful picture of her with her wings outspread like she was ready to hug him,” Tammen said.

A person releases a goose onto the ground. Another goose spreads its wings and extends its neck toward them.
Frankie meets Blossom, wings outstretched, on Feb. 15, after spending Valentine’s Day on the lam. (Riverside Cemetery/Facebook)

Hoyt has been by the cemetery a few times to visit her beloved Frankie, and says she always finds him with Blossom — who remains wary of her new in-laws.

“She hisses at us and so he gets in between, like, ‘Uh, these are my people. Don’t you be hissin’ at them,'” Hoyt said with a chuckle. “It’s hilarious.”

Hoyt says she misses her gorgeous goose, but she’s glad he found a home with a new partner, a lake and several new feathered friends.

“I think he’s happy there,” she said. “That second chance at love was pretty awesome.”

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