Hairy herders corral coots

This could be construed as a terrible thing to say about one of our major industries, but golf courses in our area are going to the dogs.  Actually, they're going  to the dogs everywhere.  It's the latest trend - and it's good. Pacific Grove Golf Links has rented border collies and dog handlers to dissuade messy birds from eating the greens and leaving slimy calling cards for golf balls to traverse.  During hours of play, the border collies herd the birds - American coots - onto the golf course's lake, and few coots seem to be taking up residence there this winter as a result. Corral de Tierra Country Club, meanwhile, has its own border collie, Mickey, to make the course less attractive to flocks of Canadian geese.  In the off-season, Mickey - a club favorite - chases down pine cones tossed by Corral golfers and employees.  He also knows which golfers come to the course bearing dog treats. Think of this as a full-employment act for border collies, a breed that is sometimes [Read more...]

Butch Wilson’s career has gone to the dogs

It’s easy to spot Butch Wilson and his border collie in their orange vests, a common sight at Crespi Pond on the Pacific Grove Golf Links. They’ve been employed to corral coots, geese and other offending birds that litter the greens with a spate of droppings daily. Wilson whistles from his golf cart and one of his five obedient workers lopes low around the course, herding the birds back onto the pond. Since golfers are impervious to weather, the duo works rain or shine, Friday through Sunday and holidays. Occasionally Mimi, Butch’s wife, spells him.The barrel-chested 68-year-old man is proud of his cutting-edge migratory bird-control business, called PGDogs. He also volunteers to keep San Carlos Cemetery clean for visitors who often thank him. Eyes brimming with tears he says, “My father was a chaplain at Robert Louis Stevenson School and it’s almost like an extension of that, to honor the people who come to pay their respects to loved ones.” With a heart as wide open as [Read more...]