INDIAN TRAIL, NC (WBTV) - There are some things that can only be chalked up to the mystery of Mother Nature. The male goose that won't leave the side of a pregnant donkey at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue (CWR) is certainly one of those mysteries.
"He literally does not leave. He stays there all day and all night," said Jennifer Gordon, director of the Indian Trail rescue.
Eleanor the donkey came to CWR by way of abuse. She's safe in a pen on the rescue's property, and she's also pregnant. Ever since she came to live there in March, Franklin the goose hasn't left her side.
"At first we were like, 'wow, what's going on?' And then we started realizing that he's just infatuated with her and that he's pacing along the fence to keep up with her. And he wants to be as close as he can to her," Gordon said.
Geese are very family-oriented by nature, says Gordon. But she's never seen a goose be so family-oriented with a donkey.
"I just think it's really cool. I mean, we deal with so many different things and a lot of the stories we get with geese are not happy endings. So this is just one of those things where we can say this is kind of fun and we can enjoy it," Gordon said.
Franklin keeps a 24-hour watch over Eleanor. Or at least he tries. At night, volunteers have to chase him into a pond onto the property so he can be protected from predators overnight.
But when they return in the morning, guess where Franklin is?
Eleanor is due in about a month. No one is really sure how the goose will react when she gives birth to a baby that looks nothing like him.