Steve Barnes' World of Happiness

Thank you, Cuthbert.

Many mammals, through their interactions with each other and with humans – their happiness, sadness, scrutiny, fear, excitement, and perhaps even humour – eventually had me guessing all mammals feel more alike inside than they might seem.

Cuthbert, sadly no longer among the animals at the Caenhill farm, might be the first who did the same for avians. Just look at him during this rush hour. Lest you think that's a one-off, Cuthbert earned his reputation as the farm's viral mascot through equally striking regular appearances, though not always wearing his heart on his wing: I recall him deferring his arrival until after the first hectic moments, affording him the chance to strut at distinguished leisure with his two flanking companions, speaking whatever he supposed he was speaking.

Cuthbert never recovered from the fight that crippled him, but at least he had plenty of company and care, and Chris' dutiful report of his death was simple and touching.

The career technologists who founded and developed the Internet, a destined farmer, and this particular, irreplaceable goose. None of those could be either other, and the insight and inspiration so widely shared could only have occurred with all three.

Perhaps the first time a goose has ever been thanked by a distant human he would never have known.