Bonnie Boyd has been running a home daycare in Port Sydney since 2012. But children are not the only little creatures running around her property.
Boyd and her husband, Russell, own nine animals: one cat, two dogs, four chickens, one duck, and one goose.
Ben, the goose, is their newest addition and the inspiration behind Boyd’s book, The Nibbler: A Story of a Curious Goose.
Boyd said Ben came by the nickname The Nibbler honestly.
“Ben was named The Nibbler by a three-year-old at my daycare,” she said. “He truly does nibble everything. The children thought it was hilarious. They would bring him different things to nibble just to see what would happen. The children’s enthusiasm and joy for their little goose was too wonderful not to share.”
Boyd and her students often write stories together. This time Boyd wanted to send them back to school last September with a way to remember their summer with Ben.
“I decided to take our little story and make it something real,” she said.
Boyd self-published the book, which she described as a wonderful experience that helped her weather 2020.
“I have written several stories over the years, always inspired by the interactions between my students and my animals,” she said. “My next two books are already written. One is about Charley, the dog who likes to steal mittens, and the other is about Hilda, the chicken who could not find a good place to make a nest.”
Boyd said the pets are an important part of her daycare program.
“The children learn empathy by caring for them. They learn that every creature on this earth needs food, water, shelter, and loving care,” she said. “It might seem like a simple lesson, but I think the world is a better place having people that care for its creatures.”
The Boyds welcomed Ben into their family after seeking a companion for Frankie, their duck.
“Living with a goose is interesting. Goslings demand all of your attention,” said Boyd. “He quickly imprinted on me and followed me everywhere. I would be cooking in the kitchen with a gosling sitting on my feet. For the first few weeks he came everywhere with us. He honks at visitors, goes on hikes with us and the dogs, and knocks at the back door several times a day to come in for a visit or a treat. Our lives are definitely different with a pet goose. Ben brings us a lot of laughter with the antics he gets up to. Geese are very curious creatures, so there’s always mischief.”
Plus, it turns out Ben has a secret. A secret that will earn him another book, which is in the works.
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