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A Feathered Friend
Photo: Donice Palmer
Growing up on a farm has given me an appreciation of animals and many opportunities to observe them. I’ve marveled at the devotion of the goose and gander to their goslings. My heart has been warmed when I’ve seen cats curl up with our St. Bernard. But of all the animals we’ve ever had on the farm, two stand out in my mind because of their unique friendship.

Dolly the donkey has always lived with the cows. Even though she is smaller than the cows, she often bosses them around. In the spring when the cows gave birth, she acted as a nanny to the calves. She seemed to enjoy "babysitting." If any dogs or other intruders came into the pasture, she would promptly and zealously chase them off. For many years, this was Dolly’s routine and life.

Rosie the goose hatched in an incubator after an egg was found on the bank of our pond. As a gosling, she lived in a box in the kitchen and would often go along on short car rides with us. Rosie became our pet. When she grew up she was not accepted by the rest of the geese. She preferred to stay in the yard or be on the front porch looking in the window.

Two years ago, before Christmas, we noticed that Rosie was in the field with Dolly. We thought that was unusual, but figured she would go to the pond when it got colder. We were wrong. Rosie stayed in the pasture with Dolly, and they became inseparable friends. In fact, Rosie did more than just stay close to Dolly in the field. She honked loudly and flapped her wings wildly while running towards anyone that came too close to her friend. When hay was tossed out for the cows, Rosie stood in the middle of it and tried to fend the cows off so Dolly could have more of the hay. 

A Downside

As interesting and sweet as this rare friendship was, there was a downside and lesson to be learned from this odd couple.

1. Rosie no longer spent any time on the water. She didn’t get the cracked corn fed to the geese and ducks that came to the pond. She ate grass and hay alongside Dolly. Dolly accepted this friendship although she had not sought it.

2. When the cows had their calves in the spring, they wouldn’t let Rosie come near their babies. They would charge at Rosie who was always near Dolly. This meant that Dolly lost her position as a nanny.

The friendship between Rosie and Dolly is amusing, but it also reminds me of a lesson parents often share with their children. We should choose our friends carefully. Friends influence our lives. Some friends may even lead us on a wild goose chase. That’s why we need to know Jesus as our best friend and choose our other friends wisely.

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By Donice Palmer. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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