Canadian Geese have been populating Lake Verona; if left alone, they could eat enough grass to destroy the grounds. To solve the problem, Elon has brought in a special team of dogs.
The dogs are from Goose Masters, a company located in Franklinsville, N.C., 45 minutes away from Elon's campus. The company uses Border Collies to herd geese away from areas they're not wanted.
Lou Ann Coulter has been training Border Collies for more than 30 years. When it comes to herding animals, she said you need the dogs.
"You've got to move and work stock and people can't do it as well as the dogs," Coulter said.
Coulter said Border Collies have a natural instinct to herd, so it's not difficult to train the dogs.
"When we say we train these dogs we don't train them to work, the training is just getting them under control and working in tandem with the handler," she said.
I even tried giving the dogs some commands. Sometimes they listened and sometimes they didn't.
Kara Kuykendall works for Goose Masters. As the handler, the relationship she has with the dogs is partly why she loves what she does.
"They're always so friendly and the job is never the same. It's always something different. It's always exciting," Kuykendall said. Her parents started the company. She said she's not a people person, so working with the dogs has been her ideal job.
Coulter has had similar feelings with the dogs from Goose Masters.
"The bond between person and dog is one that's very hard to describe," Coulter said. "They get so close to you and so under your skin that they can tell almost before you ask them to do something, what you're gonna ask."
Kuykendall has been visiting Elon with the collies for four weeks.
"When we first started at Elon, the geese were very very stubborn. So we just have to be more stubborn than the geese," Kuykendall said.
Some progress has been made but Kuykendall said Goose Masters will come as many times as they need to keep the geese off the property.
Coulter credits the dogs with more than just herding animals.
"The dogs are our life. We wouldn't be where we are today without the dogs," she said.