Prior Lake resident Ron Hendrickson bought a pet goose as a companion for his son during the pandemic and now he has two — Peeps and Puddles.
It sounds like the perfect title for a children’s book and the geese’s story begins a little bit like “The Ugly Duckling.”
Puddles was found as a small yellow gosling with a deep cut on her back from the claws of a hawk. Her rescuers called around attempting to find her a home with no luck. They tried placing her with other gaggles, but she was rejected by the other geese.
Then, while watching television one evening, Puddles rescuers saw the story of Peeps, a goose who had found a good home with a Prior Lake family.
Hendrickson quickly received a phone call from a Puddles rescuer asking for the geese to meet.
Despite not typically enjoying being held, “(Puddles) crawled up on my shoulder and sat there like I've never seen,” Hendrickson, who has raised waterfowl since he was a boy, said. “When the goose did that I said, ‘I really believe this goose has what it takes to be just like Peeps.’”
Since their meeting, Puddles has come to live at the Hendrickson's permanently. The two geese freely roam 47 acres and Puddles has even picked up some of her new friend’s habits.
“The first thing in the morning when I go outside I start the four-wheeler and they are just waiting to go and we go for a daily fly,” Hendrickson said.
Over the summer, community members could spot Peeps flying alongside a jet ski, a boat and sometimes flying next to Hendrickson as he water skied and he's taught Puddles to do the same.
“She loves to do it. Now she does it just to show off. She is way faster than Peeps. She shows off by barrel-rolling, tipping upside down and flipping and flopping going 60 mph,” he said. “She's an acrobat and an absolute athlete.”
After their morning fly, the birds often continue on without Hendrickson, flying a few more miles past home, but they always return together.
The two also make sure there’s never a dull moment in the Hendrickson home. They watch TV and listen to music, honking along to songs like “Party in the USA," by Miley Cyrus. They eat alfalfa and roam the field with the family’s three dogs and two ducks and even team up to torment the yellow lab Lola by nipping at her ears and stealing her bones.
Though sometimes a handful and “a heck of a mess” the geese have brought the Hendrickson family an immeasurable amount of joy which they’ve had the chance to share with others during these unprecedented times. Those who see the geese fly often remark the two lifted their spirits and take videos to share with their loved ones, Hendrickson said.
It may not be a conventional life for the geese, but Hendrickson believes Peeps and Puddles are two of the luckiest geese in the world, he said, and they were able to find friendship in one another.
With the names Peeps and Puddles, Hendrickson thinks it was “fate that brought them together.”
It’s hard to tell if the two will mate for life like other geese because they won’t breed until they’re 3 years old, but they seem to be bonded to one another, he said.
“We hope that they will maybe nest down in Travis Pineur pond someday… and maybe they’ll decide to fly away, who knows, but they seem to really love it here,” Hendrickson said.
To stay up to date on Peeps and Puddles, visit Peeps the goose on Facebook and @peepsthegoose on TikTok.