(WARNING: Disturbing content below)

Sweet Gilly the goose, a sanctuary resident for many years, was attacked by an unknown predator on Labor Day, Sep. 3, 2012. When found in the early morning hours, she was near dead, covered in blood and floating aimlessly in her pond. Immediately, we rushed her to the veterinary clinic where she spent the next three days in ICU. Gilly’s attack resulted in what is termed a “de-gloving” injury. Generally, de-gloving injuries remove one layer of skin but in Gilly’s case, every layer of skin was ripped off, leaving her entire neck muscle exposed. In that she had no skin left covering her neck programmed with DNA to re-grow skin and feathers, her only hope of surviving was to either grow skin and feathers up from her chest area or, grow skin and feathers down from her head. Not even the vets knew if this was possible but it was our only hope!


Once home from the vet clinic, Gilly took up residency in HartSong’s office where she had a large penned in recovery area to keep her safe, warm and dry. Keeping her infection free and easing her pain were our biggest concerns so twice daily, she received two different antibiotics to ward off infection and an anti-inflammatory medication to inhibit pain. Her neck was also washed daily with soap and water and multiple times throughout the day, we applied a Silver Sulfadiazine cream, generally used on burn victims to encourage skin regeneration. Gilly was quite at ease when we applied the silver salve but she definitely did not like the process required to get her to swallow her pills.


Three weeks from the attack, Gilly was in such good spirits that we allowed her to enjoy the front yard and a bit of sunshine. After all, her mental health was just as important as her physical health. A thick scab now covered her neck muscle. No evidence yet of skin/feather re-growth.


Two months from the attack: now that Gilly was infection free, baths were recommended but only in good, clean, fresh water. Notice that she has started to grow feathers and skin up from her chest and down from her head. Her exposed neck muscle is getting smaller by the day — mind-boggling, in fact, a medical miracle in the words of her vet.


This is how Gilly looked prior to the attack: a long, graceful neck.


An interesting observation about her appearance four months from the attack: the feathers now covering her neck are the same kinds of feathers covering the front of her chest, giving her a more full figured look. Fascinating!


Gilly today: completely healed and still, a mighty fine looking goose!

Photo: Lisa Van Dyke

Photo: Lisa Van Dyke


…every life matters