Birdies? No, he's aiming for birds

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Birdies? No, he's aiming for birds

I met an amazing 8-year-old athlete this week. He has an eagle eye, runs every day and is an excellent swimmer.

He's Quincy, a three-color border collie who has patrolled the Springfield Golf & Country Club in Virginia for the past six years.

Quincy's sport (his job, really) is to keep the golf course free of geese. The big birds love to hang out at the course because of its three lakes, marshes and green areas. But when the geese walk around -- there is no polite way to put this -- they poop all over the place.

So when Lentz Wheeler, the golf course superintendent, goes out in a cart to inspect the course every morning, Quincy runs ahead. If the dog spots any geese, he's off, chasing them even if he has to leap into a lake.

Don't worry. Quincy is trained to chase but never hurt the geese. After a while, the birds get the idea that they are not welcome and fly off.

"It's a humane way to get rid of the geese," Mr. Wheeler says.

When I met Quincy, it was clear that he is happy and loves his job. He is devoted to Mr. Wheeler and gets to chase geese as well as an occasional fox or groundhog. The golf course is Quincy's 157-acre playground.

Like many athletes, however, Quincy has had to deal with injury. He had an operation for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in one of his legs last summer. After the operation, Quincy stayed in Mr. Wheeler's office at the golf course. Mr. Wheeler came in early every morning to help the dog with stretching exercises. In two months, Quincy was walking the course. Before long, he was back chasing geese.

Still, Quincy is getting older and slowing down. So the club might get a new border collie this fall, and Quincy might retire in a year or two. Quincy will stay at the club, hanging out with Mr. Wheeler and teaching the new dog the tricks of chasing geese.

"He'll ride more and run less," Mr. Wheeler explained as we rode in a cart with Quincy curled at our feet.


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