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Max ‘n’ Maxine make an odd couple

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Danny Craig hangs out with Max and a new friend -- a Canada goose the family has named Maxine -- outside the Craigs' home in Park City.

Danny Craig hangs out with Max and a new friend -- a Canada goose the family has named Maxine -- outside the Craigs’ home in Park City.

Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News

PARK CITY — Most people who hear about Max and Maxine can't believe they hang out together. But Max, a big, strong, outdoorsy type from Park City, and Maxine, a flighty, friendly, petite Canadian, don't appear to care about being labeled an odd couple.

Their bond is as strong as it is strange.

You'd think they were lifelong friends, but a mutual friend says Max and Maxine just hit it off about two weeks ago and have hardly been apart since. They practically follow each other around. They play together, go on long walks, bask under the sun, stay with the same crowd.

People have noticed, too. In fact, they're the talk of the town.

But truth be told, Max and Maxine don't talk much.

And when they do chatter, it goes something like this:

Max: "Woof, woof, woof!"

Maxine: "Honk, honk, honk!"

Who knows if the large chocolate Lab and the Canada goose understand what the other's saying.

It might not matter. Companionship is obviously more important in this relationship than conversation.

Maxine was the one who broke the ice. Max was just sitting there on his Park City property minding his own business on a beautiful spring day when Maxine dropped in from out of nowhere and meandered right over to make the acquaintance of this stranger.

And, really, they couldn't be any stranger. One has fur, the other has feathers. One has four paws, the other has two webbed feet. One has a wet black nose, the other has a black beak. One howls, the other hoots. One has fleas, the other flies. One could snap the other's neck off with one chomp.

But none of that mattered to Maxine — or Max, who normally chases ducks away even if it means he has to jump into freezing cold water to do so. But he didn't flinch when Maxine curiously came up to check him out in the yard of Martha, Don and Danny Craig. Soon they were fast friends, sitting next to each other like they were childhood chums.

They either don't know or don't care about their differences. Funny how friendship can do that.

Maxine even lets Max lick her feathers.

Martha Craig knew something unusual was going on one day when she went for a long stroll around a loop in her neighborhood.

She took the lead, Max walked behind her, and Maxine waddled along in the rear as quickly as the goose's little legs would go on land. When the longer-legged creatures got too far ahead, Maxine simply flapped her wings a few times and caught up.

The backwards wild-goose chase is now part of Martha's frequent walks — a fact that she and passers-by crack up over.

"People will stop me," she said, "and say, 'Do you know there's a goose following you?' "

Her eardrums are reminded when traffic passes by Old Ranch Road — the quiet animals go bonkers.

"When Max starts barking, the goose starts honking. There goes Maxine, 'honk, honk, honk' right after this truck," Martha laughed. "It's almost like he thinks he's a dog at times."

He? She? The Craigs aren't sure. They gave the goose the female name Maxine because it went well with Max. Danny hopes Maxine's a she. He'd love her to be a mother goose.

The Craigs keep thinking this visit will be the last. Sometimes Maxine will zoom off when another dog comes by, or she'll leave for short trips to nearby wetlands, but so far she's always returned by nightfall. The family was certain she'd fly off with a flock of wild geese that soared by their home a few days ago, but Maxine was the one who didn't flinch this time. She stayed and played with Max, even though he slobbers on her.

The Craigs — and neighbor kids — plan on enjoying the friendship while it lasts. Heaven knows they usually don't last long enough.

"We love it. This is the nicest thing that's happened," Martha said. "(But) I try to emphasize to Danny that he could just flap his wings and leave any day."

Until then, they look forward to feeling all the warm-fuzzies — warm-furries? warm-featheries? — that accompany the bizarre buddies.


E-mail: jody@desnews.com