Wel­come Max, the Gov­er­nors Island Work­ing Dog!

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!