Frankie and Blossom had a lot in common. They’d both lost their longtime partners and were seeking companionship. They seemed to enjoy the same food and scenery.
Two residents of nearby Iowa cities connected the widowed geese last month in hopes they’d become soul mates. So far, the arrangement has worked.
Since that date, Blossom and Frankie haven’t left each other’s sides — and might even be in love, their matchmakers told The Washington Post.
“They just kind of wandered around and hung out with each other and got to know each other,” said Dorie Tammen, the general manager for Riverside Cemetery in Marshalltown, Iowa. “And the rest is history.”
Blossom settled at a lake on Riverside Cemetery’s property around April 2018 with her partner, Bud. Tammen got the idea for their names from a headstone that had made her curious, bearing epitaphs for twin infants who had died in 1888. The geese enjoyed swimming in the lake and eating bread from Tammen’s hands. They occasionally flew off but always returned.
Geese typically mate for life, but in August, Tammen found Bud dead on the ground, seemingly attacked by another animal. Tammen buried him among plants beside the lake.
After Bud’s death, Blossom isolated from the other hundreds of birds at the lake, walking among tombstones by herself or hiding behind the cemetery office. She stared at her reflection in windows, mirrors and tombstones.
On Feb. 10, Tammen wrote a personal ad for Blossom, whom Tammen believes is about 7 years old.
“Lonely, widowed domestic goose seeks life partner for companionship and occasional shenanigans,” her Facebook post reads. “Come share life with me at Riverside Cemetery, where you’ll enjoy swimming in the lovely lake, good food, numerous friends, and peeking in the door of the office building. … I’m youthful, adventurous and lively, and I’ve been told I’m beautiful.”
While Tammen was uncertain if people would respond, about 51 miles away in Runnells, a woman who runs a horse rescue farm had been seeking a partner for her male goose.
Deb Hoyt and her husband, Randy, had adopted two geese from a farmer in the spring of 2020. At first, they named the geese Handsome and Gretel. Reminded of how Hansel left breadcrumbs for a family to follow in the “Hansel and Gretel” fairy tale, the Hoyts saw that the geese loved chasing after breadcrumbs to eat.
But in July, Hoyt said Gretel disappeared and her eggs were cracked, a result of another animal likely attacking and killing Gretel. The Hoyts changed Handsome’s name to Frankie because he has blue eyes like singer Frank Sinatra, and they felt his old name didn’t sound proper without a partner.
For months, Frankie, who’s around 3 years old, searched for Gretel around the farm, honking and staying outside his shed at night. After her death, Frankie often stood at the doorstep, waiting for the Hoyts to come outside before trailing them.
On Feb. 11, Hoyt called Tammen to arrange a Valentine’s Day date for the geese at Riverside Cemetery. Tammen said other farmers had offered to sell her their geese, but she felt that was unromantic.
The initial meetup wasn’t successful; Frankie flew away soon after he left his cage. Hoyt felt somber returning home without Frankie that night, but Tammen found him the next morning near the cemetery before wrapping him in a blanket, driving him back to the office and herding Blossom.
This time, Blossom spread her wings, and the pair hurried across the property, which Tammen attributed to excitement. After about 10 minutes, they waddled to the lake, where they ate grass and interacted with other birds.
“It was love at first sight — or second sight,” Hoyt said of the geese, who were featured on CBS Sunday Morning.
Frankie had found his new home. Although there weren’t bodies of water at the Hoyts’ farm, Frankie had learned to swim in the lake with Blossom. They took turns dunking their heads.
When the Hoyts visited the next week, Frankie greeted them, but after a few minutes, he ran to Blossom.
“I’m sure he’s much happier with a whole flock of friends,” Hoyt said. “It was hard for us, but we know that it’s better for him.”
Blossom and Frankie spend all their time together, Tammen said, even napping beside each other. Tammen has posted updates on the cemetery’s Facebook page, and people across the internet have admired the geese’s relationship. One person built a wooden sculpture of the geese, and others have written love poems.
After Bud’s death, Blossom visited the cemetery’s office every day. Tammen believed she was seeking company. Now every time Tammen spots Blossom on the cemetery grounds, Frankie is never more than a few feet away.
On Monday, Blossom returned to the office for the first time since meeting Frankie. After Tammen fed them cracked corn and scratch grains, the geese strolled back to the lake for their next activity.
Following along from another city, Hoyt has been thrilled that the couple overcame heartbreak despite many geese only falling in love once.
“The cool part of this story is, ‘Hey, it can happen a second time,’ ” Hoyt said.