By Fred Bowen

Special to The Washington Post

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 my local country club 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.

That makes the course messy. The club's golfers don't like walking or putting through goose poop.

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," Wheeler says.

Like many athletes, Quincy has had to deal with injury. He had an operation for a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in one of his legs last summer. After the operation, Quincy stayed in Wheeler's office at the golf course. 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.


Advertisement

"He recovered faster than RGIII," Wheeler says, referring to the Washington Redskins quarterback.

Still, Quincy is getting older and slowing down. Wheeler notices that Quincy takes shortcuts and saves himself steps when he can. ("He's super intelligent," Wheeler says.)

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 Wheeler and teaching the new dog the tricks of chasing geese.

"He'll ride more and run less," Wheeler said.