A Facebook post of a freezing goose trying to keep a puppy warm has gone viral on the Internet. Amidst freezing temperatures, the bird decided to share its warmth with a baby of a different species, and it has shown the compassion animals are capable of. In this case, it really did become a mother goose.
In the past month, many countries across the globe were under a cold spell. In North America, a polar vortex formed and caused temperatures to drop way below the normal winter conditions. This happens when the stratosphere suddenly warms and winds decrease or change direction. Areas in the Midwest reached well below 0 degrees Celsius (32 Farenheit), with some areas dipping to -30 degrees Celsius (-30 Farenheit). A blast of arctic air has also affected temperatures in the UK, also plunging temperatures well below 0 degrees Celsius. With such extreme conditions, it’s even more remarkable that this goose gave up some of its warmth for a baby that’s not its own.
The Facebook post from Montana depicts a goose shivering from the cold with a puppy on its chest. Due to the freezing temperatures, the goose was actually stuck to the pole it was leaning against. It had its wings wrapped around the puppy to ensure that it stays warm. The post has captured the hearts of people on the social media platform—getting more than 60,000 likes and over 200,000 shares.
Birds usually head for warmer climates in order to stay warm during the winter. The fact that this goose was still in freezing temperatures is quite remarkable. The puppy probably doesn’t have the mental capacity to think of kleptothermy (when animals steal heat from others), so the goose most likely volunteered to share its body heat with the shivering pup. Humans may insult the geese for being “bird-brained” or incapable of complex thought, but they cannot be insulted for not having a heart.
The goose showed humans the power of compassion and self-sacrifice. The puppy wasn’t even a baby of its own species, yet the goose decided to protect it from the cold. We don’t need to be wrapped in a goose’s wings to stay warm, so perhaps we should share our man-made warmth with the animals who need it.