By Hollie Bone
A two-year-old Canada goose has grown up believing it’s actually a DOG after befriending its owner’s pet Labrador.
Nanette Swisher, 42, from Oregon, USA, has been rescuing and fostering animals for the last 20 years, but when a little gosling with a rare genetic condition came to stay with her two years ago, she couldn’t say goodbye.
But raised alongside the family’s 10-year-old Labrador Dozer, the Canada goose, dubbed G-Bird has started picking up dog-like traits – eating out of the same food bowl, wilfully going for walks on a lead, and following the pet pooch everywhere he goes.
Mum-of-two Nanette has even set up a dedicated Instagram page for G-Bird following the family’s adventures with their unlikely addition.
Nanette said: “They do everything together, they eat together, sleep together, and whenever Dozer goes off exploring on a walk, G-Bird is right there behind him on his coat tails.
“I’ve done some research into it and because he hasn’t been socialised in the wild he is mimicking the behaviour of others around him.
“He literally does think he’s a dog or just part of the family.”
Nanette, the director of a cleaning company, fell in love with G-Bird when she was forced to take him to work for weeks after his genetic condition meant all of his feathers were falling out.
She said: “Since I was a kid my mum fostered for the Humane Society, she took in cats and dogs that had been hit by cars or some other trauma so I brought home anything as a kid to look after it, I even once brought home a crow.
“My first rescue in my own home was about 20 years ago and it’s just been every year since then, taking in all sorts of different animals and birds.
“Most of the time we release them back into the wild but G-Bird has a genetic feather disease which stops him from feathering properly so he wouldn’t be able to keep himself warm enough or fly away to protect himself in the wild.
“When he was younger he was growing feathers and they were just falling right out, so I had to take him to work with me for the first couple of weeks until his feathers started growing properly.
“I just fell in love with him, he would follow me everywhere and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to let him go.”
Since then all the family have followed the same fate – unable to resist G-Bird’s charm, Nanette’s Millwright husband, Mike, 50, has even stopped hunting birds.
Nanette said: “Dozer is actually a trained shooting dog, he’s trained to fetch birds shot on a hunt – but since G-Bird has lived with us, he won’t work, and Mike, won’t go on hunts anymore either.
“Now G-Bird is just part of our family and I think him and Dozer will always be best buds.”