Eight years ago, after German Shepherd Rex was rescued from the junkyard where he’d spent his life on the other end of a heavy chain, even the kind staff at the United Kingdom’s Puriton Horse and Animal Rescue sanctuary had their doubts about whether Rex would ever be rehabilitated enough to live his life out in a real home. After all, Rex had been kicked out of at least one other shelter for biting a staff member before arriving at the Somerset sanctuary, and was once only hours away from being euthanized because of his behavior.
In fact, Rex was once so frightened of people and so aggressive towards them as a result that it would take not one, but two people to feed him — one to distract him and the other to carefully toss a dog food bowl into Rex’s enclosure.
Rex was never too keen on other animals, either. He’d bark and growl at any who would pass his kennel, and even try to stick his head through the bars to eat wild rabbits roaming on the sanctuary grounds.
But now, thanks to some TLC from an unlikely friend, the once-vicious Rex now acts like one silly goose.
Geraldine, a white goose who’d also earned a bad rap for her behavior towards people, was surrendered over to Puriton three months ago. Once described as nasty, crabby, and mean, Geraldine has forged an unbreakable — and quite unexpected — bond with 11-year-old Rex.
The owners at Puriton were initially scared that Rex would attack Geraldine if she was to wander too close to him. But when the two were introduced something almost magical happened — Geraldine seemed to calm down, and Rex, who was usually so snarly, became the mellow dog his caretakers had always hoped he would become.
Today, Rex and his goose gal can usually be found taking a stroll through the woods or snuggling in Rex’s enclosure together every night.
“It’s so comical to see them because they love each other to bits,” Sheila Brislin, who runs the Puriton Horse and Animal Rescue, tells The Daily Express. “They snuggle down together and Rex puts his leg over her to protect her. In the morning they have breakfast together. It’s really sweet to see them.”
Geraldine isn’t content unless she’s with Rex, Brislin explains.
“She just runs around alongside him all day long and whenever we take him for a walk in the woods she has to come too,” Brislin says of Geraldine.
And Rex, well, now he’s a lover, not a fighter — all thanks to Geraldine.
“They are very affectionate,” Brislin says of the unlikely pair, “and he’s always licking her head and kissing her. She snuggles into him and they sleep together every night.”
While this is certainly not the first interspecies friendship in history — dogs have befriended calves, deer, and even a lion named Bonedigger — but this is the first that seasoned rescuer Brislin has ever experienced firsthand.
“I’ve been doing rescue work since 1997 and seen all kinds of strange animal behavior, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” Brislin adds.