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Goose terrorizes Utah neighborhood, caring for ducklings

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SOUTH JORDAN — A goose that spent five weeks terrorizing a South Jordan neighborhood has become something of a celebrity after neighbors learned what the bird was guarding.

The goose began standing guard outside of Narelle and John Canaan's home last month. John Canaan learned that the hard way.

"John comes running back into the house with one shoe on, one shoe off, his hat's out here and he's like, 'I just got chased by a goose!'" his wife said.

That night and the next day, the goose remained in front of their home, where a paved trail runs past separating homes from a lake. And the Canaans watched as the goose chased off unsuspecting joggers, walkers and cyclists using the trail.

"He was flying about 800 mph directly toward my son," John Canaan said of one incident. "It was like a missile."

His aggressive behavior over time earned him the nickname 'Gangsta'. The homeowners association caught wind of what was happening and put up a sign. But the Canaans made their own signs along the trail, warning passersby of a "dangerous" and "insane" goose.

But it didn't take long before they realized Gangsta wasn't just being mean. He was protecting a nest in the bushes in their front yard.

The Canaans captured several interactions showing Gangsta hissing and running or flying after people who attempted to pass. They learned he didn't like umbrellas and John found himself on several occasions running out of the front door, an umbrella in hand, to help defend a child trying to get by.

"Oh, we saw people being attacked," Narelle Canaan said.

On one occasion, her husband tripped and fell trying to scramble into his home. He slammed his elbow on the ground and plans to get it checked out at the doctor's office.

"And I don't hold Gangster liable for that," he said jokingly.

"Yeah, we're not going to sue him for it. It is just what it is," Narelle Canaan added.

But over time something changed in the couple's relationship with the goose.

"As I kind of got a better feel for who he was and what he was trying to do, I just had different feelings that evolved," John Canaan said.

That feeling was magnified when after five long weeks, the eggs hatched and they saw Gangsta escort not baby geese, but a mama duck and 12 ducklings to the water.

"We love Gangsta now. We do. I can get over this," he said.

His wife says they've forgiven Gangsta. And they've set out a new sign that now describes him as the "insanely devoted goose."

The Canaans visit Gangsta often. He's still keeping a close eye on mama duck and her ducklings but has abandoned his attacks on humans. And over the last few weeks, the way neighbors view him has changed and he's become something of a celebrity in the neighborhood.

John Canaan says the lesson he learned from their goose neighbor has since become clear.

"I think we live in world right now where it's really pretty easy to dismiss one another and to judge each other. But I think if we'll just take a little more time to take an extra careful look we might — metaphorically speaking — see a goose trying to take care of a duck's eggs."

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UtahSalt Lake CountyOutdoors & Rec
Matt Rascon


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