A Canada goose that hatched at Mercy Medical Center this spring with a deformed wing will now live out its life at a Redding sanctuary, thanks to a group of hospital employees.

A Canada goose that hatched at Mercy Medical Center this spring with a deformed wing will now live out its life at a Redding sanctuary, thanks to a group of hospital employees.

The goose – dubbed Gary – is now swimming in his new pond with his new friends, safe from the Mount Shasta winter, said Joyce Zwanziger Mercy’s director of Marketing, Community Relations and Volunteer Services, who watched the story unfold from her office window.

“Each spring dozens of goslings emerge and take up residency around our campus. It’s always fun to see the little furry yellow chicks chasing after their parents,” Zwanziger said. “Then they start to grow up and leave evidence of their daily travels all over the walkways. (Fun fact: the parents lose their flight feathers when the eggs hatch so they are grounded too until the little ones are ready to fly). The parents are really protective of their offspring and are not above chasing visitors and employees around. About this time the geese lose their charm and we are pretty much ready for them to head south for the winter.”

This year, one of the goslings was born with a deformed wing and was unable to fly, said Zwanziger.

“As witnessed by several staff members, his brothers and sisters tried to help him learn but with his bad wing, it was just impossible.”

The time came when all the other Canada Geese flew south and the little goose was left behind, alone on the pond.

“We called every agency we could think of to ask for help but were told to ‘let nature take its course,’” Zwanziger said.

For Rob Williams, a Physician’s Assistant in surgery, that answer wouldn’t do.

Williams learned that if a goose can’t fly and lives in extreme winter weather, his feet will freeze off, he will not be able to locate food for himself, and he is just a sitting goose for predators.

Williams said he finally contacted Tehama Wild Care and they gave him the name of a woman who has a private sanctuary outside of Whiskeytown who was willing to take the goose and give it a safe environment to live out his life.

A group including Williams and his wife, Julie, Dr. Tom Morris, Allison Davis and Vince Patania caught the goose, which they dubbed Gary, and transported him to Redding.

“Gary was a good friend, and we’ll miss him,” said Williams. “We knew his time was short and all acted swiftly to ensure his safety.”