Thunder, the border collie who keeps geese away from Tonawanda golf courses, is ready to retire | local news

When a cool breeze blew at Sheridan Park Golf Course in the town of Tonawanda, the golfers were outside, but the geese weren’t.

That’s because Thunder, a Border Collie, has already done his job for the day: chasing those pesky geese away…in a golf cart.

Thunder is the third guard dog of the Tonawanda Township Youth and Parks Department. His coach, Scott Boivin, says he’s unceremoniously retired, but he still goes to the golf course to do the job he’s done for 11 years: keeping the course clear of goose poop.

The Thunder is 13 years old, and his legs aren’t working as well as they used to.

Thunder lays down as owner Scott Boivin talks with ground staff at Sheridan Park Golf Course on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Minh Connors/Buffalo News

Boivin, who works as a greens ranger at the city’s golf courses, has been with Thunder since he was a puppy and remembers when the dog would chase geese all over the golf course on all fours of his legs.

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“When he was younger we would go to all the parks to keep the geese off the baseball and football fields. Now they hang out with me on the golf courses,” Boivin said.

Because of the age of thunder, they ride a golf cart to scare the geese.

“If he’s on a carriage, the geese will take off before we get close to them. Just being there is enough to make them panic,” Boivin said.

The Thunder used to patrol the city’s golf courses in Sheridan Park and Brighton Park, but it’s primarily in Sheridan Park now.

Although Thunder has unceremoniously retired, he shares such a strong bond with Boivin that he never leaves his side.

He accompanies Boivin to work, even when he’s not really needed.

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

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

Scott and Thunder doing their rounds

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

Minh Connors/Buffalo News

Boivin says he’s not sure where the Thunder name comes from but guessed it might be because he’s afraid of sound.

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

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

Being a handler is a serious commitment as you will be paired with one dog for the duration of the dog’s duties.

Anyone interested in this role should contact the city’s Department of Youth Parks and Recreation at 716-831-001.

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