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By Janina Todesca

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

There is no need to watch where you’re stepping when walking across campus anymore. Shoo, Geese! Border Patrol is cleaning up the campus.

Stonehill hired this company about a year ago to help control the geese population at Stonehill. Gail Devins, creator of Shoo, Geese!, visits campus twice a day five times a week to get rid of the herd that frequently leaves behind many presents for Stonehill students to find on the bottom of their shoes.

“It started when I was given a Border Collie from our friends who were traveling frequently and needed a nice home for him.  Tug had so much energy that I needed to find something for him to do that would use up his energy,” said Devins.

Ever since then she hasn’t looked back.

Devins now has three Border Collies, Tug, 6, Louie, 2, and Winston, 4 months old, in training.

“Border Collies are used for this very purpose in many states across the country.  The reason Border Collies are used to harass the geese is because the Border collie resembles the “Arctic Fox” which is a natural predator of the Canada goose,” said Devins.

Devins said a simple stare from these dogs can get the geese to fly away and that training these pups only took about a month; they are natural herders. The geese fear that the dogs will harm them, but Devins says herding is all they intend to do.

Devins approached Stonehill several years ago but the college was using noisemakers to startle the geese.  The noisemakers, it turned out, didn’t work, and when Devins came back to campus a year ago, she had a new job.

Stonehill is not her only customer.

“I have accounts in the south shore area; at cemeteries, other schools, day camp, corporate property, condominium complex, golf courses, and private properties.”

All of Devins’ customers have seen some sort of improvement, including Stonehill.

“If you take a look at the walkways and lawns of the campus, you’ll notice that there is no longer the problem of those nasty goose droppings everywhere,” Devins said.

And the dogs will not stop until the geese are truly out of sight. Even when they enter the water, the dogs will jump right in after them, said Devins.