Not-So-Wild Goose Adopts Illinois Family

PHOTO: Jarrell Johson, 26, of Champaign, Ill., said a goose showed up on his doorstep on July 28, 2012 and hes been caring for it ever since.
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A Champaign, Ill., family has welcomed a new member to their brood -- a goose they've named Aflac.

Aflac showed up at the Johnson family's home on Saturday morning, and refuses to leave the property. He'll only go if the family goes with him, Aretha Johnson said.

"This is a good goose," Johnson said. "He's become a family member now."

Johnson said that early Saturday morning she heard someone persistently knocking on her door. When she got out of bed to see who it was, she opened the door and looked down to see a wild goose standing in front of her.

"He wanted to come in, and I said, 'Oh no, you can't come in here buddy!" she said.

Johnson said when the bird arrived, he appeared to be limping, "like he got a hit by a car." She also said that Aflac's tail looked like it had been clipped.

"We thought he couldn't fly at first, but we got him back strong," Johnson said.

Johnson said her family took turns walking Aflac three times a day to keep him moving. She also said one of her sons, Jeremy, will put Aflac on his back and make him jump to test how strong his legs are.

Johnson, who is 5-foot-2, said Aflac reaches her hip, and weighs somewhere between 10 and 20 pounds.

Johnson said the family made a home for the goose in her backyard. They've given Aflac with a pool to sit in and provide him with fresh water two to three times a day, she said.

The goose has taken a special liking to Johnson's 26-year-old son Jarrell.

"My son will call him, and he'll fly up in his arms," Johnson said. "My son will go down the street, and [Aflac] will flap and chase my son."

"I think now he adopted me as his daddy," Jarrell Johnson told ABC affiliate WPIC.

Johnson said Aflac even waits at the backdoor for Jarrell to come home from work.

Aflac is also protective of his new family, hissing and sticking his tongue out at the dogs that live next door, she said.

Johnson said they've been feeding Aflac grass and raw corn, and she's noticed that he's been getting bigger and stronger since he moved into the backyard.

Aflac has even brought her neighborhood together, and her neighbors will come over and take turns feeding the goose, Johnson said.

"Everybody stayed to themselves until the goose came along," she said.

Johnson said she called animal control and police to see if they would come to pick up Aflac, but they could only refer her to other animal wildlife agencies.

"He's so domestic, I'm afraid he won't want to go to his natural habitat," Johsnon said. "We're willing to have someone come and look at him."

Stephanie Joos, director of Champaign County Animal Control, said that in order for an agency to handle federally protected birds, like geese, they need a license. The Champaign County Animal Control does not have that license, she said.

A representative from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which is licensed to handle federally protected birds, could not be reached for comment.

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