Ill-fitted pair finds short-term love

May 11, 2009

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We've all seen those miserable, cutesy little feature items about dissimilar animal species that hook up to form an unlikely bond -- a dog and a cat, a goat and a chicken, James Carville and Mary Matalin.

These spots annoy me as much as the next person, so you can imagine my horror when, on Little Farm by the Creek, a miniature horse and a goose got together and decided that no one was going to out-Walt Disney them.

The affair lasted all of 10 days, then it was over. It was hot and passionate as all forbidden loves are, and as usual, it deeply hurt an innocent bystander. Besides me, I mean.


Anyone familiar with miniature horses knows that what they lack in size they make up in attitude, and such is the case with our Doodlebug, more commonly known as the Little Puke. He escapes at every opportunity, runs away when called, shrieks when dissatisfied about something and harasses any other animal with which he comes in contact. If the world is his oyster, he is the MSX bacteria.

In fact, the only critters on the place that are more ornery are the geese. They hiss, attack and bellow at the top of their lungs. And that's when they're being fed. Any less-fortunate occurrence is greeted with a trebling of the decibel level.

We recently lost one of our three geese, and while we said all the right things about being sad and it was a real shame and all, there was little conviction behind the verbal sympathy cards.

So now we are left with Frankie and Edwina, a bickering old couple that stays together only because of the expense of hiring a divorce attorney. When they're not screaming at someone else, they're screaming at each other (This isn't a home, this is a prison! Well then, get out! I will get out! You wouldn't want to make me that happy ...).

Since they're never pleased with anyone, I never expected the dynamic to change. Then one morning I saw Beth staring at Little Puke's paddock, words escaping her. There was Frankie, grooming the horse with his beak and rubbing his head on its belly. More astonishing, the goose was still alive; this is the type of transgression the L.P. usually addresses with a hoof to the groin.

For the following week, the two were inseparable. Frankie followed Doodlebug into the pasture and the pair would engage in serial nuzzling.

For her part, Edwina would watch from a distance, working herself into a white rage. Frankie would eventually return and try to walk past her as if nothing was happening. Edwina followed on his heels, yakking into his ear at full volume about the scandal of it all. Frankie would just walk faster, but every so often he turned around to give back what he was getting.

The whole scene made me kind of uncomfortable in ways I can't explain.

Of course this couldn't end well. The Little Puke, whose opinion of himself is something along the lines of an equine pope, began to sense that he was seeing someone below his station -- like a duke who has a brief fling with the parlor maid. (For clarity, I should mention that Doodlebug has been neutered and geese tend to be gender unspecific, so Frankie might or might not be a boy and Edwina might or might not be a girl. So the lines of sexuality and predictable relationships here are blurred.)

Before long, when Frankie would approach, Doodlebug would gallop away. The goose was crushed -- a feeling that couldn't have been helped by Edwina, who took him back with the understanding that she was free to browbeat him through eternity with I-told-you-so's.

So as of this writing, I would tell you that things are back to normal. Except that with geese and miniature horses, they never are.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or by e-mail at Tune in to the Rowland Rant video at, on or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 evenings at 6:30. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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