Welcome Max, the Governors Island Working Dog!
May 15, 2015 2:48 pm
Here on Governors Island we work really hard to make sure we achieve 100% visitor satisfaction. Over the past few seasons, a number of visitors have noticed goose droppings on our lawns, especially in the beautiful new park. As we get ready for the new season, as we always do, we vacuum our lawns. In addition, this year, we also brought on Max! Max’s job is to make the Island a more enjoyable place for our human visitors by making it less attractive to Canada geese.
Max is the newest member of the Governors Island team and was adopted by our Director of Park and Public Space, Jim Reed! Max is a five year old rescued Border Collie. While dogs and other pets aren’t allowed on Governors Island unless they are service animals, Max is a working dog.
While Canada geese can be lovely to look at, they leave a mess (they eat up to four pounds of grass a day and leave over a pound of waste per goose!), and can be aggressive toward people when they are nesting. To ensure the enjoyment and safety of visitors, as well as the safety of the geese, Jim brought Max on board. Reducing the goose population also helps our overall efforts to create wildlife habitats and increase ecological diversity on the Island in the form of terns, owls, kestrels, peregrine falcons, song birds etc., as well as a variety of flourishing plant life.
Border Collies are trained to herd and discourage the geese from hanging out, but they will never harm the animals. In fact, Border Collies are recommended by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Humane Society due to their highly evolved herding instincts. Jim spent six months searching and consulting with about a dozen professional dog handlers, breeders and trainers before he adopted Max in January 2015 from the Mid Atlantic Border Collie Rescue Program in Maryland (http://www.mabcr.org).
Border Collies, including Max, tend to be type “A” personalities that require challenging jobs in order to be happy dogs. They love training, rules and order, and they are well tempered, wonderful companions to boot!
Here on Governors Island Max gets to work all day. He loves his job so much that he does victory rolls whenever he clears a flock from a field! He’ll continue to work herding throughout the season. He’ll focus his attention on grassy surfaces to allow you to picnic and play sports without having to worry about goose waste.
In addition to his love of herding, Max loves people. Jim trained him to be an official Governors Island greeter and help welcome people to this Island. So, while you’re visiting Governors Island this summer you’re sure to see Max at work wearing his bright orange work vest. Feel free to take a picture, and if he’s not actively herding, say hi! Max and the rest of the Governors Island team can’t wait to see on May 23!