Friendly goose ‘Kirli’ brings joy to classrooms in NE Turkey

There is a very special honorary faculty member at Mehmet Akif Ersoy Middle School in the Ortahisar district of northeast Turkey’s Trabzon province: a friendly goose named “Kirli.”

Hatice Özkan, 63, who lives in the Black Sea district, has taken care of the Chinese goose for three years, and her feathered companion rarely leaves her side.

Over the years, Özkan has formed a close bond with the goose, which was given as a gift to her 13-year-old grandson, Yiğit Terzi.

“He also comes with me almost every morning when I walk my grandson to school,” Özkan told Anadolu Agency (AA).

Hatice Özkan walks with her grandson’s pet goose Kirli in the halls of a middle school in the Ortahisar district of Trabzon, Turkey, Oct. 15, 2021. (AA Photo)

The popular goose wanders around the school’s garden, corridors and the teachers’ room. He also visits classrooms, adding joy to lessons.

But the goose’s strolls take him far beyond just the middle school. Özkan said the well-traveled Kirli is also well known across the city. “He comes everywhere with me, and when I have something to do, I always take him with me. He never leaves my side.”

“I always take him out every morning for a walk. When I go to the market, they look behind me to see if Kirli is there.”

Hatice Özkan, 63, embraces her grandson’s pet goose Kirli, Trabzon, Turkey, Oct. 15, 2021. (AA Photo)

A member of the family

Kirli is very good with people, Özkan said. “He loves to play and never attacks anyone. He loves everyone. He’ll make different sounds with people he knows. He loves children very much. When you say ‘run,’ he opens his wings and runs. When I say ‘come to my lap,’ he comes to my lap to be snuggled,” she explained.

She also said her grandson and son gave the goose his name and now their feathered friend comes running every time he is called.

Özkan’s grandson, eighth-grade student Yiğit, said he loves animals and that he had asked his father for a Chinese goose as a birthday present.

A Chinese goose named Kirli explores Mehmet Akif Ersoy Middle School accompanied by the school’s principal, Aylin Yaylı (C), and students, in the Ortahisar district of northeast Turkey’s Trabzon, Oct. 15, 2021. (AA Photo)

Explaining that his friends were surprised when Kirli first came to school, Terzi said: “He plays with my friends, goes to classes and walks around the school. I love him very much. I would like to thank my teachers for letting him in. It was very strange for my friends at first since he’s an unusual animal.”

Mehmet Akif Ersoy Secondary School Deputy Principal Aylin Yaylı said: “We also have Kirli who comes to school. He is our guest every day. He visits my office, the teachers’ room and sometimes he goes to classes with us.”

She said in addition to a focus on academic success, the school has developed various projects to instill a love of nature and animals in children and teaches them techniques to protect and care for the environment and the creatures that inhabit it.

She added that they also welcome and take care of several stray cats and dogs, like the school’s unofficial canine mascot Krema and Kirli, in and around their school.

A Chinese goose named Kirli explores a classroom in Mehmet Akif Ersoy Middle School in the Ortahisar district of northeast Turkey’s Trabzon, Oct. 15, 2021. (AA Photo)