Green Mountain Falls' beloved goose, Roy, will be laid to rest Thursday.
A burial service for the domesticated Chinese goose is at 11 a.m. Thursday on top of the hill overlooking the lake Roy once patrolled, caretaker Ann Pinell said. He will be buried "next to his best friend" Rudy, an all-white goose who "taught Roy everything he knows," she said.
The two were inseparable as they policed the other ducks and geese at the lake, paying special attention to the babies, Pinell said. When Rudy was killed by a car, Roy took over as top goose.
Larger than his fellow fowl, Roy was a natural leader that herded geese and ducks on the lake and led them on walks.
"Even though he was a male he was like a mother to the baby geese," Pinell said. "I don't know what's going to happen now that Roy isn't around to protect everyone."
Roy was killed Friday by two loose dogs. His death flustered the lake's other 50 to 75 ducks and 30-plus geese, many of which left, Pinell said.
The owner of the dogs was located a few hours after the attack, Pinell said. They could be cited for disregarding the community's leash law, but whether that happened is not known. The Green Mountain Falls Police Department and Marshal's office did not return The Gazette's calls.
It's hard for Pinell to believe Roy, who was the town's mascot since he showed up eight years ago, is gone given the number of times he's escaped death.
His arrival at the lake was a shock itself. The story is he walked down from Crystola, a town roughly 2 miles north of Green Mountain Falls, but no one knows if that's true, Pinell said.
Then, early on, Roy was attacked by two dogs and became frozen on the ice, Pinell said. Later she had to remove a fishing hook from his foot. Each winter, she found him huddled somewhere with icicles clinging to his feathers, she said.
He survived all of that.
"He represented such spirit and heart and beauty and love," Pinell said. "People are grieving."
Pinell said she'll miss most hearing his "clarion call" when he saw her truck passing the lake. He thought it was feeding time, she said.
"Sometimes I'd stop and feed him even on my way to Wal-Mart because he was so loud," Pinell said. "I'm hoping someone might have a recording of his honking."
The community will celebrate Roy's life through a memorial service later this spring, Pinell said. She hopes to have a plaque made with Rudy and Roy's name on it and add it to the gazebo's walkway. Those details are still in the works, she said.
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