Thunder, a border collie who keeps geese away from Tonawanda golf courses, is ready for retirement | Local News

As a cool breeze blew through the Sheridan Park Golf Course in the town of Tonawanda, golfers were on the green, but the geese were not.

That’s because Thunder, a border collie, had already done his job for the day: chasing those pesky geese… in a golf cart.

Thunder is the third watchdog of the Tonawanda City Parks and Youth Recreation Department. He’s unofficially retired, says his handler Scott Boivin, but still goes to the golf course to do the job he’s been doing for 11 years: keeping the course free of goose poo.

Thunder is 13 and his legs don’t work like they used to.

Thunder lays down as owner Scott Boivin talks to the grounds crew at Sheridan Park Golf Course on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Minh Connors/Buffalo News

Boivin, who is a greens keeper on the city’s golf courses, has been with Thunder since he was little and remembers when the dog chased geese all over the golf course on all fours.

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“When he was younger, we would go to all the parks to keep the geese away from the baseball diamonds and soccer fields. Now he hangs out with me on golf courses,” Boivin said.

Due to Thunder’s age, they ride around in a golf cart to scare the geese.

“If he’s on the cart, the geese will fly away before we even get close. His mere presence is enough to scare them away,” Boivin said.

Thunder used to patrol the city’s golf courses at Sheridan Park and Brighton Park, but he’s mainly at Sheridan Park now.

Although Thunder has unofficially retired, he shares such a strong bond with Boivin that he doesn’t leave him at all.

He accompanies Boivin to work, even when we don’t really need him.

Thunder loves to swim and often bathes in the Boivin family pool. Boivin said when he’s having a bad day, Thunder is always there to listen.

“He’s my boy, my buddy, my family. As much as I’m with him, he’s with me too,” Boivin said.

Scott and Thunder make their rounds

Thunder rolls on the grass at Sheridan Park Golf Course on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Minh Connors/Buffalo News

Boivin says he doesn’t know where Thunder’s name comes from, but he assumed it might be because he’s afraid of sound.

“He’ll hide wherever he can crawl around a corner or sit next to me,” Boivin said. “He’s a little baby with thunder for sure and fireworks that most dogs can’t stand.”

The municipality is looking for another guard dog and a dog handler.

Being a dog handler is a serious commitment, as you will be paired with a dog for the duration of dog chores.

Anyone interested in this role should call the city’s parks and recreation department at 716-831-1001.

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Michael C. Ford