Goose grabs attention

Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU -- Volunteer judge Lynne Smith, left, pets Stitch, a housebroken pet goose belonging to Ned Hammatt, 7, during the 4-H pet show Jan. 17 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. It was the first time pet show judges saw a goose on a leash.
Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU -- Volunteer judge Lynne Smith, left, pets Stitch, a housebroken pet goose belonging to Ned Hammatt, 7, during the 4-H pet show Jan. 17 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. It was the first time pet show judges saw a goose on a leash.

A goose on a leash, a ghost corn snake wrapped around its owner’s neck and a bejeweled turtle drew lots of attention at the Ascension Parish 4-H Pet Show.

The goose, a Toulouse goose named Stitch, was calm and well-behaved as he stood next to a ferret in the last competition round on Jan. 17 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.

Longtime pet show volunteer Claire Braud said she’s “seen it all” in the more than a dozen years she’s helped with the show.

“One year, we had a row of donkeys,” Braud said.

Pet Show announcer Arthur Smith took a second look when Stitch walked in wearing a purple and gold LSU-themed dress.

“Now that’s a lineup for you,” Smith said.

Smith, who admitted that he does not like snakes, stayed clear of Casper, a 5-year-old, 3-foot-long snake owned by Hannah Godchaux, 9, of Dutchtown Primary School.

“I just like snakes because they are different,” Hannah said.

Before the competition, Hannah sat in the stands with Casper tucked away in a cage.

Not far from Hannah, Stitch sat quietly in the arms of Ned Hammatt’s mother.

Ned, 7, a student at Galvez Primary School, said Stitch was raised indoors, but now lives outside.

“That’s why he’s so friendly,” Ned said.

Ned said that while he practiced with Stitch on a leash at home, the animal really does not like the leash too much.

“We’ll see what happens when he gets around the other animals,” Ned said.

Stitch entered the arena last, following a bowl of guppies, a ferret, a parakeet, a cockatoo, turtle and the snake.

Smith reminded the students with birds to “Please don’t let them out of their cages.”

“I remember a few years ago we had a girl let her bird go and that thing flew around here forever,” Smith said. “We had a time getting it to come back.”

Yoda, a cockatoo belonging to 11-year-old Regan Evans, of St. Amant Primary School, stayed in her cage.

As the judges viewed the pets, Yoda danced around in her cage.

“She loves to dance and she’s so sweet and loving,” Regan said.

Regan, a first-year 4-H member, said she entered the pet show because she enjoys taking part in 4-H events.

Sara H. Sturtevant, an Ascension Parish 4-H agent with the LSU Agricultural Center, said the pet show gives 4-H’ers and their siblings a chance to brag on and show off their pets.

“It’s a fun, family event that’s been going on forever,” she said.

Sturtevant, who joined the staff in October, said the pet show kicks off the annual 4-H Livestock Show, which was held Saturday.

In addition to the out-of-the-ordinary pets, students brought their cats and dogs to the competition.

Ribbons were awarded in various categories including smallest and largest pet, shortest and longest tail, and best dressed.

As Braud used a tape measure to record the length of each dog’s tail, Smith encouraged the dog owners to show off their pets’ tricks.

Kayla Hineman, 10, got her dog Brandy to leap for a treat.

“He’s such a good dog and loves the treats,” Kayla said.

Kayla’s sister, Alise Hineman, showed her 7-week-old Australian shepherd Lab mix puppy in the puppy category.

“He’s too young to do a trick, but he’s just so cute,” Alise said as she entered the arena.