Pictured above are a dog and a goose. The dog’s name is Baks (yes, Baks — that’s not a typo). The goose? Her name is Buttons. They’re friends.
That’s pretty rare to begin with — dogs and geese don’t really get along all that well. In early 2015, for example, the National Park Service announced that they’d be using dogs to round up geese who congregated on the National Mall, as the birds were leaving too much geese poop behind and tourists accidentally stepped in it. And in 2006, per the New York Times, a New York carpenter made some fake, wooden “dogs” which were specifically designed to scare geese away from public parks and the like. Dogs and geese don’t mix, making Baks’ and Buttons’ friendship already strange. But it gets stranger.
The two have been friends since 2010, when Baks was in an accident, rendering him disabled. But while the image above suggests that Baks lost a leg in the accident, that’s not the case — it’s just an odd angle. Here’s another photo of the two, and you’ll see that Baks has all of his legs and a playful sense of humor (or, perhaps, that Buttons is a very good sport):
So what happened to Bak? The accident left him blind. And that’s where Buttons honked his way in.
As of 2011, when the photos above were taken, the pair lived in Poland with their owner, a woman named Renata Kursa. According to Discovery.com, Kursa told reporters that after the accident, Baks did a whole lot of nothing, preferring to mostly lay around and (to anthropomorphize his behavior a bit), mope. But that changed due to Buttons’ efforts. Kursa said that “gradually Buttons got him up on his feet and starting walking him around.” This isn’t the only example of dogs and geese getting along — here’s another — but it is probably the only example of a seeing-eye goose.
In typical relationships involving dogs and service animals, the dog is the guide. But in this case, the roles are reversed (and the other party is a goose). The two are common play mates and, according to Metro UK, the fowl friendship has given Baks “a new lease on life.” In Discovery’s words, “the four-year-old goose [ . . . ] now leads her vision-impaired pal around everywhere either by hanging onto him with her neck, or by honking to tell him which way to go.” Buttons is Baks’ docent and best friend.
But the friendship isn’t just a one-way street. As many press outlets reported, Baks has rubbed off on Buttons as well — one of the duo’s top pastimes is to chase postal workers together.
Take the Quiz!: How many of these famous dogs can you name?
From the Archives: Seeing-Eye Mini Horse: The title tells the story, but you should read it anyway. Because it’s cool.
Related: A “4D” anatomical model of a dog.