by Max Brantley
It is with a heavy heart that the City of Little Rock announces the passing away of Fern, the border collie who worked as a deterrent for geese at the Rebsamen Golf Course. She died over the weekend and was found by staff in her pen.
“Fern was a wonderful dog and one of the best City Employee’s we’ve ever had working here at Rebsamen Golf Course,” said Eric Bowden, Assistant Facility Supervisor at Rebsamen.
With the re-opening of the Golf Course in 1999 after a re-design, Rebsamen was having a big problem with Canadian Geese landing on the 300 acre property. They were destroying the turf on the greens which would cost thousands of dollars to repair each time they would land. So the City decided to purchase a Border Collie, a border collie named Fern.
She was a working dog. Fern was trained on command to crouch down, run around the ponds when geese would enter into the pond. She also was trained on command to stay directly across from Parks employees while herding the geese out of the pond. They would then give the final command and she would swim towards them which would force the geese to fly out. Fern never harmed the Geese. Border Collies put out a Fox like instinct to the geese which would scare them.
Fern spent her nights at Rebsamen in her own kennel in the maintenance shop. She would run the course almost every morning and would ride with City employees throughout the day in the golf cart.
“I started working at Rebsamen Golf Course on August 1, 2000 and have known Fern since the very first day I worked here,” said Bowden. “She has been a wonderful dog. In 2007 I entered her into a nationwide contest through Turf Net. The contest was for Superintendent’s Best Friend. Out of the 180 entry’s they received, it would narrow down to 13 dogs nationwide. Out of the 13 finalists, one would be chosen to be on the front cover of the calendar. They chose Fern! She was named Superintendent’s Best Friend for 2008 through Turf Net.”
With the passing of her on Sunday, October 13, 2013, she has been laid to rest at Rebsamen Golf Course at Memory Hill, which sits between 18 green and 17 tee, on the big hill overlooking the entire golf course.