Meet the New Working Dogs of Governors Island
Dec 19, 2023 1:44 pm
The Trust for Governors Island announced today the arrival of the newest members of the Island’s working dog team – Atlas and Reed. Atlas is a two-year-old blue merle border collie, while Reed is a five-month-old border collie puppy. They join the Trust’s two veteran border collie employees, Chip and Aspen. The four pups will work together to help control the geese population on the Island and prevent the birds from befouling public areas.
“Our beautiful lawns and public spaces would not be in the amazing condition they are today without the efforts of our working dogs,” said Clare Newman, President & CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “Atlas and Reed are welcome additions to the team, and we look forward to watching all four members of our working dog team bound around our campus, keeping us free of geese and allowing our visitors to enjoy our pristine green spaces.”
“Ruff, ruff, ruff, ruff!” said Atlas and Reed, Governors Island’s newest working dogs, in a joint statement expressing their collective excitement about joining the team.
Atlas has already begun chasing geese on the Island several days a week, and Reed will officially begin his full-time employment on his first birthday. Right now, Reed is getting accustomed to riding the ferry back and forth, training alongside his new colleagues, and going on adventures. All of the working dogs are rescues; Reed, Chip, and Aspen come to Governors Island from the Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue, a boutique breed-specific rescue uniquely qualified to improve the lives of misplaced border collies by placing them into homes matching the individual needs of each dog. You can learn more about their work by visiting https://mabcr.org/.
Reed is named in honor of the late Jim Reed, a longtime member of the Governors Island family who was intricately involved in building and caring for the Island’s park and grounds – including “hiring” the first pack of working dogs in 2015 to humanely keep visiting geese off of the Island’s lawns and public spaces.
The Trust for Governors Island tried many different methods of goose control and found working dogs to be the most sustainable, humane, and adorable solution. Herding dogs like border collies make great guardians against flocks of geese. Their natural herding instincts urge them to control, but never to harm, large groups of geese, effectively chasing the birds away. While herding dogs make for a powerful goose deterrent, geese are persistent, and so the Island’s pooches must remain ever vigilant. The dogs take turns staying overnight on the Island, typically making the rounds (with a human caretaker in tow) at dawn and dusk daily.
You can follow the work of these dogs at their official Instagram page, @giworkingdogs.
Atlas, Reed, Chip, and Aspen aren’t the only pups who can take advantage of Governors Island’s numerous cultural offerings. The Island’s Winter Dog Days run through April 30, 2024, with dogs welcomed to visit Governors Island every weekday with their human companions beginning at 10:00 a.m. This winter the Island features an expanded off-leash dog park open daily in Colonels Row with plenty of space for dogs to run and play outside and maybe even chase a few geese of their own.