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
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
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
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.
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.