Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue
Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue
Gender: Male
Age: Adult
Foster Home: Sheila

Update: Napper was adopted in June, 2003.

Napper spent his first four years being trained as a goose control dog. He was born a sterile dog and with a short tail. Heís a beautiful Border Collie and dedicated to the task of work. He loved his job and did it very well. He was the best.

It was his fourth year when a golf course purchased him as a trained goose control dog. In case you are not aware of this, a trained goose dog is expensive with prices typically starting at about $3000. A very good goose dog will easily cost twice as much.

Napper was taken from the only home he knew, put into a crate and flown off to his new home and job. The big problem soon became apparent. Although Napper was trained to control the geese on the golf course, the golf course was not trained to work with a goose police dog. They made plenty of mistakes and because if it, Napper had to endure mishandling as well and injuries.

The owners of the golf course had trained of considered assigning a human to work with Napper. He had to learn to adjust to his new life by himself, expecting that by merely opening the crate door, Napper would do his job and then they could lock him away until they needed him again. Although the instructions from the goose control academy were specific, no one at the golf course made the effort to learn along with Napper.

He was kept in a 4íx 4í pen that was placed next to the landscaping shed. The sounds of the weed whackers, lawn mowers and tractors were loud and frightening. Although people worked around and went past Napper all day, there was very little interaction with him unless they needed him to chase the geese off.

One day the geese landed in the lake and an employee thought Napper should go out into the lake to get rid of them. Well, that isnít how it works. Goose control dogs are trained to chase the geese off and keep them from nesting on the shore. The employee, upset that Napper would not venture out into the lake to get the geese, picked him up and threw him in. And contrary to popular belief, dogs arenít born knowing how to swim. They learn it. Napper had to be dragged back out of the lake before he drowned, and from then he no longer trusted the man and he refused to go into the lake. This however, did not stop the employee from throwing him in. Napper lost his trust in mankind.

One morning Napper was let out of his tiny pen at the same time that the employees started their noisy equipment. Startled, frightened and sensitive to the sounds, he attacked the weed whacker, injuring himself. From that time on, Napper was never let out of the pen again. Trapped inside his small pen and unable to get away, he was attacked by muskrats and seriously injured. To this day his scars remain visible. It was a kind hearted employee who came to his rescue, no longer endure seeing the life that Napper was forced to live. She threatened to file charges, and the golf course agreed to let her care for him temporarily.

She took him home, gave him the love and attention that he had been missing. She struggled to teach him that a hand can offer a tender and loving touch. Napper had to learn to trust again. They took long walks together into the woods and fields, and Napper enjoyed the wide open spaces. Oh, to be able to run again! It was during one of these walks that a storm blew in and flashback to the loud noises of the weed whackers and lawn mowers haunted Napper. He broke off into a run, intent on chasing down the thunder, disappearing into the woods. When the storm had passed, Napper returned cut and limping, and although the kind woman had cleaned his wounds, they became seriously infected. Napper spent a week at the vet hospital fighting the infection. When he had recovered, he went back home with the kind lady who continued to work on building trust with humans again.

Napper loved his new life and gradually his courage returned as did his herding skills. With each hesitant step he took, the kind woman helped him toward overcoming them. It was the herding instinct that was the most difficult to deal with and eventually Napper went chasing after a car. The instinct is to get in front of the car and control from there. Napper was struck and once again he was back at the vet hospital.

By this time, with the large vet bill facing them, the golf course decided that they didnít want Napper anymore. They gave him to the kind lady. And now she was faced with the undeniable understanding that Napper is a Border Collie with herding instincts and in need of a job. She sought a new home for him. She turned down many offers because they were not appropriate for a dog like Napper.

Finally a volunteer at Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue learned of Napper and contacted the kind lady who then realized that the best way to find the right home for Napper was through Rescue. We deeply appreciate all the time and efforts that this very kind lady has made for Napperís sake. We have promised to take very good care of him and help him find the right home where he will be understood, loved and cherished for the rest of his life.

Sept. 12

Napper is working at a local golf course, so we will go to work 3-4x weekly, as needed. It is a regular job during migratory season. I have not asked for pay, but have suggested a donation to GLBCR. This is a city run golf course that has a terrible goose problem.

This morn, I awoke before sunrise, tired but excited for Napper's first day at his new job. Sneaking around quietly, I put on my BC Rescue shirt, some shorts, & tennies. I drove the car to the end of the drive, so as not to disturb any sleeping dogs. Napper was downstairs, so I had to call for him. Now all the dogs awoke, just as the sun hit the sky. Napper ran to the ducks, but I kept calling for him. He looked at me, then the ducks, then me. He was confused. Suddenly, his expression changed & he came running to me. He couldn't get to the car fast enough. He knew it was road trip time!

Napper was more excited than I have ever seen him. He loves road trips, but this time he acted differently . . . as if he was aware that this was the start of his new life. Once I pulled in to the maintenance area & Napper saw the golf cart, he realized he had work to be done. The staff couldn't have been more inviting. They had "the boss's" cart ready for me. They came out to meet Napper & talked with him, encouraging him to help them solve their goose problem.

Napper jumped on the golf cart & sat on the gas pedal :-0 I hopped on and we were on our way!! The first flock we encountered were on a fairway. There were only 11, but scattered. Napper waited patiently for my fumbling fingers to release his lead. Off he went. Off they flew. Napper looked back at me as if to say, "This is too easy. Let's get some more!" He ran back to the cart & we drove around until we found another flock.

The next flock consisted of only 9, but some were in a lake & some were on the bank. This was a difficult call for me. If Napper approached them from the ground, they would all take to the water. If we approached from the lake, Napper would have alot of swimming before reaching them. I decided Napper was the expert & let him size up the situation. We drove around the lake & Napper looked at everything. I parked near some bushes, hid behind them while I released Nap, & let him go. He was so fast, they didn't have time to reach the water! Then he went after the ones in the water & they flew off easily to follow the other in flight. This was an option I had never even considered. It pays to let the pro make the decisions.

Napper came back to the cart and away we went. He is truly unbelievable!! As we reached the top of a hill, there they were . . . must have been over 50 geese . . . spread over fairway & green!! What a sight! Napper was going to have to really run this flock. Again, I was unsure of the best approach. I watched Napper, paying attention to how he determines the direction. Then I saw the point he wanted. I stopped and he took off without hesitation. They were gone in seconds and Napper left no lingerers. He continued running the area until the flock changed flight away from the golf course. He is perfectly amazing! And I thought he wanted to retire . . . just another case of the BC being smarter than their human.