No, this moose is not named Tom. She’s a lady moose (a cow, to be scientifically correct) and she wandered onto a Merrimack, New Hampshire, couple’s lawn, then peered into their front window on Tuesday morning, much to their surprise — and delight.
Erik DiVietro tells PEOPLE “She was in our lawn and the neighbor’s lawn for about 40 minutes, possibly longer. I saw her eating off our pear tree at about 5:30 a.m., and she seemed to have been there for a bit already when I spotted her. She was by our door for maybe 5 – 7 minutes, just looking in.”
According to WBZ 4 CBS Boston, the DiVietros and their teenage daughter grabbed their cell phones and quickly began filming this unique visitor. In the footage, the animal is first seen munching on the leaves from a tree across the street, but then she ambles over to the DiVietros’ property to check out their trees (and to have a look inside the window).
Erik is overheard in the video saying, “I would love to open the door for you but I can’t. You have to stay outside, you’re an outside animal.”
His wife was equally taken with the large deer relative. “Oh my word, she’s so beautiful,” Nichole says in the Facebook video her husband posted of the amazing encounter. Erik seems to agree, commenting “Look at those eyes.”
“We were never really scared,” Erik tells PEOPLE. “Nichole and our daughter were in the house the whole time. I did go outside several times to record [the moose] when she was across the street, but I kept a respectful distance. Moose are near-sighted and not particularly intelligent, so they can hurt you without knowing they are doing it. So, you keep your distance.” DiVietro also explained that he is a hiker and has met a couple of moose in the mountains before.
His wife, however, has lived in New Hampshire for 19 years and has never seen a moose. She tells PEOPLE that the animal was “massive,” and the experience was “exciting but humbling at the same time.”
“I was in so much awe and wonder that this peaceful yet curious moose was standing here before my family,” says Nichole. ” I saw the glory of God in this creature.” Indeed, this closeup encounter was extra special for a few reasons.
The couple told WMUR 9 News that the surprise visit was just what Nichole needed after losing her sister four months ago. “My husband said, ‘OK, I’m going to name the moose Mooshy,’ in honor of Michelle, and her nickname was Mishy,” she said. “And he said, ‘I think you needed some cheering up, and so here comes Mooshy.’ So it was very touching.”
While the family doesn’t think the moose was their sister-in-law’s visiting spirit, they do believe “God sometimes uses creation to send us messages of peace and hope,” Erik tells PEOPLE.
“We think this was perhaps Him letting us know everything is alright. Hard to say why we feel that way. We hope Miss Mooshelle (a.k.a. Mooshy) will come by again. She is certainly welcome,” he says.
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His wife Nichole very much agrees. Since the encounter, she has had some time to reflect on what this special event means for her personally. “I cherished the fact that my husband, daughter and myself had this experience together as a family. I think, in the business and distraction of our days, we take for granted what being a family really is all about,” she tells PEOPLE. “So, to have this moment together to share in the wonder of what we experienced was very special to me.”
“My sister passed away four months ago (today) from cancer, so to have this ‘visitor’ seemed like a God-send. People usually say that if you see a red canary or blue jay it’s a sign or message from a loved one that has passed, but my sister liked to go big. I imagine my sister Michelle telling God, ‘Everyone always sees birds, can you send something extraordinary … like a moose?!'” says Nichole.
According to Erik, their family loves animals and nature, and that is one of the reasons why they moved to New Hampshire and have never left. He also says the town of Merrimack is both low-lying (“so it has a lot of water”) and mostly forested, which is a conducive habitat for the species.
“Someone asked my wife if we called the police or [the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department]. Afterward, I mentioned to her, ‘Why would we do that? We live in her habitat, not the other way around.’ “
We hope this visit is just the beginning of a beautiful, long-lasting friendship between the DiVietros and “Mooshelle.”