A gentle gray goose used to spend most of its time with the geese in Echo Park near downtown Los Angeles. One day, an elderly man who used to think all birds are “dumb” met the likes of her, and since then, his stroll in the park routine has never been the same.
Maria, as she is called, is a big soft-feathered Toulouse goose. She has mottled plumage of gray and buff, a bright-orange beak, and reddish legs.
Normally, she would go to the pond at daybreak and swim and preen herself with the other geese, but the day she met Dominic Ehrler, a retired salesman, her regular routine changed from that day forth.
Maria took a fancy to Dominic in a big way, and the feeling was mutual. Every morning she would leave the flock and wait patiently for him to arrive.
They would walk together, and Dominic would chat to her as though it’s the most natural thing in the world. Maria had plenty to say for herself as well.
Echo Park became famous very quickly with people coming to get a look at the pair.
Dominic told CBS News, “People would look at us like—what is this?”
Well, it’s not a sight one bumps into every day in a public park.
Maria the goose started following him around out of her own initiative, and it was not because he was enticing her with food.
Perhaps it was his twinkling eyes and grayish hair that made Maria feel a kinship with Dominic … or maybe some sort of predestined connection that only they feel.
“She thinks that she owns me. The other geese are not allowed to be near me on account of Maria,” he said.
Maria is very protective of Dominic. If a dog comes too close or anyone else for that matter, she would stretch out her neck and “tell them off.”
She even follows Dominic when he leaves the park on his scooter. She takes off flying after him, and even keeps pace next to him quite happily.
Dominic would then have to turn around and take her back to Echo Park, where he would patiently wait for her to go to sleep.
Maria is a very social goose and only once did she get a little flighty, and that was to the music band OK GO.
The director had a hard time keeping her away from the boys while filming in the park, so to keep the peace, he let her appear in their music video End Love.
When asked if anything had changed since he met Maria, he said: “I quit eating poultry. I used to think birds were dumb, this has changed all that.”