Thatcher: Gosling Saved by Small Boy with Big Heart

While walking home with a friend, Manuel, a 9-year-old boy, saw some adults dumping a bag of goslings into a yard for a dog to eat — and the dog was quickly devouring them! Despite the daunting circumstances, Manuel knew he had to try to help the birds, and he did not hesitate to act with courage and kindness. One gosling was close enough to the fence for a 9-year-old’s arm to reach. Manuel grabbed him and carried him to safety.


Manuel quickly became attached to his new charge. He looked after him diligently at his home, taking special care to prevent him from eating anything hazardous.

The gosling was lucky to have such a conscientious caretaker, but a small urban house is no place for a growing goose. An adult friend of Manuel’s family began looking for a permanent home for the little goose. When she reached out to us, we were happy to offer the gosling sanctuary at our nearby Southern California Shelter. Manuel was sad to part with his friend, but he has eagerly stayed in touch with us to hear stories and see photos of the gosling in his new home.

The gosling, now named Thatcher, is quite content at our shelter. He is not at all shy about demanding attention from his caregivers, chasing after them as fast as his little legs will carry him. When staff members sit for a spell to update residents’ health charts, Thatcher will snuggle or perch on their chests to clean their hair and faces. His new pool is his special delight. Every day is full of excitement for this young bird.


The story of Thatcher’s rescue ends with a lesson: Strength hides in unexpected places. One little boy in challenging circumstances gave Thatcher the sort of safe, rich life that most farm animals never experience. Manuel’s kindness is his strength. And now, Thatcher has the power to change lives too, inspiring those who meet him or read his story to let the strength of their own kindness shine through.