Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Michelle & Goose

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Michelle. I am a pastor for the United Methodist Church. I serve a church in Utah. In fact I serve the church that I grew up in. That is a rare thing to happen, but I could not imagine being anywhere else. And that is my companion Goose. He is a male Weimaraner who is 12 1/2 years old.

At the church I serve every 3rd Sunday of the month we have Bring Your Dog to Worship. It is very popular and the people, and the dogs, really enjoy it. For some people it is much easier to attend a worship service if they can bring their dog, their companion. It is most certainly something I look forward to.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every morning Goose and I get up at 4:45AM and sit on the patio to watch the sun come up, pray, read a devotion and listen for what God has to say. It is our special time together. We do this each morning no matter what the weather. Well, except if it is raining; Goose does not like to be out in the rain.

What's brewing?

I have whatever kind of coffee is in the cupboard. Usually it is some sort of hazelnut brew. In the dog days of summer it is iced. Before I go to bed I get it ready and when I get up it is brewed and all that is needed is to grab a cup and head to the patio.

Today's selection is a Blue Mountain brew that was a gift from a friend.

Any treats for you or Goose on this occasion?

No treat for me, per se, just my Greek yogurt, pomegranate. The treat for Goose is he gets to lick out the cup. I always leave a little extra in there for him.

How did Goose get his name? Any aliases?

Goose came with his name. Twelve years ago I walked into a pet store to get some rocks for two Gecko lizards, Spot and Bob. New Hope foundation was there with puppies for adoption. I hurried past them and headed for the rocks. I had no intention of getting another dog. My last dog, Pete, had been my companion for over 14 years. He was a Lab Great Dane mix, 140lbs on love. When he went to the rainbow bridge the day before Thanksgiving I vowed to never have another dog. And for years I held to that. Then I walked into that store. When I walked to up to pay for the rocks there was Goose, 6 months old, in a wire cage that he was too big for, his tail sticking out. The checkout line was long. So there I stood, next to Goose, trying not to look at him. The volunteer noticed me and started talking with me, finally saying "would you like to walk him outside, I'll hold your rocks." So I did and I fell in love. But I was still determined to not have another dog. When I came back in and she put him back in his cage, something happened. I took my rocks and walked to the back of the store. I called a colleague and simply said, "Do you think it is time?" I did not tell her what I was talking about, but she said, "Yes it is time. It is time that you let another dog into your heart." What could I do? I went back up front and the volunteer handed me the leash. We talked some more. That's when I found out they were asking $600 for Goose's adoption because he came from a championship line of Weimaraners. I handed the leash back, there was no way I could afford that. I got back in line to pay for the rocks. Then the volunteer tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I know you will give him a good home. He is meant to be with you. If you will take him home he is yours, no charge." Goose's full name is Sir King Goose the III. I was not sure if I would keep the name. But it quickly became apparent that he was a Goose. The reason is because whenever he wanted my attention, or wanted to play, he would "goose" me. Yep, poke me in the butt with his nose. So Goose it was. He is also known as Gooseberry, Bubba Goose, and Gooie.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

For Goose all are on the list, well, except postman. He loves the postman. He also has a fondness for skunks. Last year he "kissed" six of them.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

This is a no-brainer: sticks. Goose is the King of Sticks. No matter the size, from twigs to fallen trees. They are all pure enjoyment for him.

Who is Goose's best pet-pal?

Goose has so many friends. But I would have to say it is Bert from Four Legged Views. He goes to Bert's place several times a week while I am at work. And they go on great adventures in the mountains and at the Fort a couple times a week. Of course he has a special fondness for his gal pal Belle. They have known each other for a long time and have had some great camping and backpacking adventures together. She is his beautiful Belle.

What is Goose's best quality?

Hummmm. He has many it is hard to choose. His devotion and commitment to me is incredible. He is very in-tune to me, even when I am not aware of what is going on. Because of some medical issues I have there are times that I will start to slip into a coma. Sometimes I am not aware that it is happening, but Goose does and he does everything he can to make me aware what is going on so I can take some meds to bring me back. Even when I am sleeping he will try to pull me out of bed, jump on the bed, bark in my face and so forth. He was not trained to do this, he just knows what is happening and makes sure I am OK. It has been a life saving connection we have that I can only explain as a gift from God.

If Goose could change one thing about you, what would it be?

Being Goose and who he is, I think he would say he would not change a thing. He loves me for who I am.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Goose could speak, which actor should do his voice?

I don't know why but I would have to say Morgan Freeman. Maybe because when we watch something with Mr. Freeman in it Goose goes up to the TV and stares at the TV tilting his head from side to side. It's like he is listening to his own voice.

If Goose could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

Just one? I would ask him why he enjoys sticks so much. Why they bring him so much joy.

Visit the Gospel of Goose blog.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Goose,

    Your story made be cry happy tears.
    I am so glad your mom needed rocks that day and found you.

    XO Cinnamon

  2. Great interview! It made me teary also. We just love Gooseberry and Michelle. The gospel of Goose is just such a wonderful fun blog! :)

  3. We love reading Goose's blog everyday...we are hoping the idea of "bring your dog to church" catchs far it hasn't hit Iowa...bummer!
    Very nice story! Mom cried.
    Stella Rose

  4. Oh! Oh! Oh! Goose and Michelle!
    Yous is made for each other! Me LOVES reasing your stortty and mes loves yous lots!

  5. Great Q&A. That is the great thing about dogs, they love you for who you are.

  6. It's so wonderful to learn more about you and Goose, Michelle. We love Goose! And you.

  7. I loved reading this. The story of how you found eachother brought a huge lump to my throat. Yes, it was time.