Halley The Border Terrier

Halley (Fanfare Jetsetter Can RN AGN AGNJ ME CGN HIC Am RN ME CGC TDI) is a Border Terrier owned by myself, and we live in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Halley is a very ambitious and clever dog, as you can see she has more letters after her name than in it.

A Snow Goose Hazer

Halley has a job with the City of Richmond (in British Columbia, Canada) as a Snow Goose Hazer. Each fall, an estimated 100,000 of the white birds fly 4,000 kilometers (about 2,500 miles) to the Frazer River delta to escape their frigid winter home in Wrangel Island, Russia.

By year’s end, the birds head farther south to the Skagit delta before retuning to Richmond in the spring, en route to their Russian home. In Richmond, the geese traditionally feed on intertidal march plants, but in recent years they moved inland, feeding on farmers’ fields, parks, sports fields and even residential backyard—leaving muddy, goose-poop land behind.

City officials have tried fireworks, air pistols, lasers, military-grade lights and professional dog handlers in a bid to scare the birds away. The City has also offered farmers in southwest Richmond cash to grow winter cover crops to that attract geese and keep them away from unwanted sites.

Halley was trained and screened by a “professional snow goose dog hazer” before receiving her official City vest. The dogs are allowed to run off leash when hazing geese. The dogs should “encourage” the geese to leave the fields for farmers’ growing winter crops for them or for their winter grounds by the Skagit. The photo below shows herring gulls that also take advantage of the mudd fields.

The Reading Program

The Richmond Public Library has a program where children read to the dogs. The children select books that they think the dogs will like. They practice with a teen mentor and then read the books to the dogs. Many of the children and their parents are nervous about dogs; however, Halley is the dog they are more comfortable with because of her small size.

Halley is very outgoing with people and was thrilled that the children came to visit her. There are children who are shy about reading out loud, but know that the dogs don’t judge their performance.

Halley has been taking part in the Reading to Dogs program in the Richmond Public Library since June of 2012. The Therapy Dogs International website describes the program in the following way, “This program encourages children to read by providing a non-judgmental listener and furry friend to read to that won’t laugh at them if they make a mistake or stumble over a word, but rather lie next to them and enjoy being read to them. “The children learn to associate reading with being with the dog, and begin to view reading in a positive way. Over time, the child’s reading ability and confidence can improve because they are practicing their skills, which will make them enjoy reading even more.”

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