Duo featured in new book

Will Bex, who was four at the time, with his real-life goose, Fuzzy (aka Feather). Will’s journey finding and raising Fuzzy is the subject of a beautiful new children’s book called The Boy That Liked Web Feet.

There is a beautiful children’s book called The Boy That Liked Web Feet, by Peggy T. Compton. It begins like this:
William, Will for short, and his father, mother, and little brother, Isaac, moved to a new house in a new neighborhood. Winter was over, and springtime was coming.
The book goes on to detail how Will had always had a special place in his heart for birds with webbed feet. He learned about them, read about them, studied them, built a home for them, and how one day, after a dream that he might have one as a pet, he set out to look for one.
Soon, the story went, Will returned with a soft, yellow baby goose in his hands.
Only, it’s not just a tale dreamed up by the author. It is the actual story of Will Bex, the son of Sandy Bex (Flandreau alum 2010) and grandson of Gail and Stuart Keating.
The Moody County Enterprise had the chance to sit down with the 7-year-old for a bit during a recent visit back to Flandreau to see family. The family currently lives in Idaho where Will has grown up hunting and fishing a lot with his dad.
“It was bizarre,” said Will’s mom. “He actually told me that morning that he was ‘going to go find a duck’. And, that day, he found Fuzzy (a goose). She was right in the ditch by our house,” she added.
Will detailed the morning, both in the book, and for us in person that day, carrying on the conversation like we were talking with someone far beyond his years.
“She was like 24 hours old and she imprinted on me, so she followed me,” Will said.
Surprised she could survive on her own after maybe only 24 hours, Will responded that geese, even as babies, eat grass.
“She mowed our lawn, basically. We had like nothing left of our lawn,” he said with a big smile. “She would walk around the neighborhood and try to follow us when she got bigger. She was naughty.”
Will named her Fuzzy, well, because she was fuzzy, he thinks. He can’t really remember anymore, he was just 4-years-old when he found her.
“I went out to the garage to check on Will, and he had her in a box. He said, ‘Mom, I found a duck!’ And I said, ‘yeah..you did!’ Even though it turned out to be a goose.
“We kept her and had her until probably September and then we took her to a friend’s place, because we don’t have water on our property and she needed that in the wintertime. They had some other waterfowl, so she had a friend there,” Bex recalled.
“She lived there about a year and a half, and then she got attacked by a raccoon,” said Will, pretty frankly.
The family doesn’t really have any other pets anymore, he added. Actually, he said, they do have some rabbits, but they are for meat. He then went into further detail about how that works.
Back to Fuzzy…what happened that she was in the ditch that morning?
One of her wings, they believe, wasn’t quite right, so she couldn’t fly. Mom and dad geese will kick their babies out, Will said, if they have problems. So they think mama goose just left her in their ditch.
“I thought…well, she imprinted on him, so we have to keep her now,” said Bex, laughing about how any of this started.
“We took her to the beach several times because she loved the water, and one time there were all these geese swimming by. We tried to push her into the water to see if she would go with them. She was not interested. At all. But she loved going to the lake.”
She instead, would hide behind Will.
Is the book true? Pretty close, they all agreed. Except the goose in the book is a he, not a she.
And the author? Well, she is actually a friend and neighbor. If you get the chance to read the book, Peggy’s role in any of this stretches far beyond just the author. Her interactions with Will are priceless, and true.
Ahead of heading back home to Idaho, we asked Will what he might want people to know most about him.
“I’m just a boy,” he said. “Not many people know that, only a lot of people in Idaho. And I love birds. Because I think they’re interesting and I don’t really know why I really like birds, but …”
Grandpa Stuart chimed in to explain just how much he does love birds.
“If a duck is coming in, he can tell you what it is. Probably from the time he was about two or three years old. He would take baths with decoys, he went hunting the first time when he was three, and he would stay out there for hours, even when it was freezing cold.”
Not to give too much of a spoiler, but we felt this fitting for an end to this story, for now. At least the story in the book. Peggy concluded with this:
God gave Will a passion for birds with webbed feet, and Feather (aka Fuzzy all grown up) needed someone that could protect him when he was a fluffy little gosling all by himself. God put them together at just the right time, and they grew to enjoy and love each other. They would never forget each other as long as they lived.
The Boy that Liked Web Feet is available through traditional book outlets like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, etc for those interested in a copy.

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