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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


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For the week of  September 5 - 11, 2001


Lucy the Goose returned to home

And here’s the rest of the story…

Express Staff Writer

While riding his bike on the Fox Creek trail last Memorial Day, Rick Sharbinin had to come to a stop when his dog was distracted by crows making a ruckus in the trees. Sammy, the dog, managed to flush out what appeared to be a day-old gosling, who naturally a bit confused, mistook Sharbinin for one of its own, and hid under his bike.

Lucy the Goose is back with her foster parent, Rick Sharbinin of Ketchum. Express photo by Dana DuGan

"She spread her little stubby wings out," and captured his heart, he said.

Sharbinin knew the goose was a female, prior to research, based on the fact that she never shut up, he said. She is stubborn and noisy, he said in all seriousness.

Recently our Mountain Express Weekend Edition diarist told a story of a seemingly tame Canada goose wandering around Ketchum, eating bagels.

Well, a call to the Express last week alerted us to the rest of the goose story—to Sharbinin’s involvement and of the bond between a man, his dog and an orphaned goose.

Sharbinin had taken her to his home in Ketchum, where he and Sammy raised the goose they call Lucy Goosie (what else?). He didn’t cut her wings, because he has been determined to teach her to fly eventually and migrate for the winter to Hagerman with other Canada geese.

As part of this program he regularly gives her what he calls a "Jack LaLaine" workout to strengthen her wings. He also checks Web sites for ideas and advice on how to go about the process of reintroducing her to her own kind. In fact, Sharbinin has taken her back to the area where he found her several times. They’ve spotted other geese there, but Lucy shows no inclination to join these families.

Sharbinin has become the alpha goose, and she won’t leave his side.

Among Sharbinin’s many efforts to wean her from him is biking next to her as she flies, but he cannot go fast enough. Eventually, Lucy lands and simply waits for him.

"She flies so fast, the bike won’t keep up. I can’t get up enough speed where she will feel comfortable with her own speed," he said.

One of his ideas is to fly in an ultra-light plane to Hagerman once or twice so the trip will be imprinted in Lucy’s instinctual memory.

Three weeks ago, Lucy did test her wings on her own and ended up on the wrong side of the fence. She walked undetected up the opposite side of Trail Creek from her home. For a little while, sightings were reported in the Forest Service Park during Ketch ’em Alive nights, but Sharbinin had no idea what had happened to his goose.

On the Friday morning we reported the goose sighting, Tim East, of Names & Numbers and 812 Band fame, saw a policeman herding the goose back into the park. But she didn’t stay there.

"Then the goose was in the middle of the street, and following me, so I went over to The Bagel Place, and got a fresh bagel from Tonia," East said.

They—not knowing her name was really Lucy— dubbed the goose Paté.

East and the goose walked over to the Forest Service Park after awhile, where rehearsals for Shakespeare were taking place. As he was on a deadline, he handed over the goose-sitting duties to Wiley Ellis, who happened to be observing the theatrics.

Ellis then drove Paté/Lucy to a pond at the north end of the Bigwood Golf Course, where he released her, thinking that was that.

According to Sharbinin, he heard that there was a Lucy-sighting at a dinner party on the first fairway when she wandered into the garden.

Not long after Ellis deposited Lucy at Bigwood, another friend saw posters around town about a missing goose. One thing led to another, and Sharbinin was informed about the golf course drop off. He searched the golf course area daily but, other than the garden party sighting, she had all but disappeared.

"Where would I go if I was a goose?" Sharbinin remembers musing. "I finally found her on the fifth tee, watching them play golf, in Bigwood last Sunday."

She gave Sharbinin the gesture for picking her up —she curls her head around and tucks it in her wing. But Sammy having not seen her for three weeks "freaked her out," he said. After a little struggle Lucy was finally back at the only home she’s ever known, where she’s got a kiddie pool, a mirror to peck at and some odd toys. And Sharbinin, who is still Mother Goose.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.