Dogs no hazard to golf course
Every morning, I drive to work from northwest of Linwood, some 11 miles of nearly flat river bottom expanse. Traffic is usually light and seldom a problem, so I don't experience road rage or bottlenecks, for which I count a daily blessing. The scenery of the wide Kaw River valley never ceases to please and entertain my wandering eyes. Each day brings glimpses such wildlife as deer, fox, turkey, owl, hawks, eagle and song birds. It seems Golden Road was aptly named, as I cannot predict what I'll see around the next bend.
As I turn southward on 166th street to make the homes stretch into De Soto, I am visited by the sight of a pack of roaming dogs. These dogs, some apparently immigrants of Australia as they sport a blue merle or red merle coat, mix with yellow or black canines, who are prodigy of a traveling salesmen from Labrador. This group wanders the bottoms from Lenape Road to the river, scavenging the road kills and terrorizing the local rodent population. A local resident feeds them and offers emergency care when needed as we have seen them on occasion and spayed a mother dog or two. They rarely cause harm or bite and many passersby want to be humane by calling then in or rounding them up but they are savvy to these attempts and run quickly away.
About a year ago, I was approached by the owner of the local golf course, Bob, to inquire if they were someone's pets. I said I thought they were pretty stray, but originate from the local farm on Lenape. Bob being the kindhearted soul he is, took it upon himself to assume the care of the male and female dog because they seemed to enjoy the country club lifestyle of Burning Tree Golf Course. Bob got them corralled and brought the two pups over. We spayed, neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and tested them for heartworm. Remarkably, the two were in pretty good shape .
Last week, I stopped by to Burning Tree to play nine holes. As I walked up to the counter in the clubhouse, I was greeted by a lick on my hand by Gracie, Bob's female dog. George, the brother of Gracie was snoozing in the office at Bob's feet. Gracie, after a fond petting on the head, seemed to smile contentedly and sauntered back over to her favorite spot, curled up and dozed off. Bob came out and took my green fee. With a big smile he asked, " Think their getting fed enough?" I responded, " Bob these two hounds have it better than we do, they have a roof over their heads, all the food they can get at, blue sky and green grass, and never have to work a day again in their lives. Too bad they cannot be taught to golf - retirement could be complete!!" He grinned, humbly and bid me a good round.
I had to grin as I made my way to the first tee. Bob didn't have to adopt these two dogs, but he did out of his big heart. For companionship, Bob went out of his way to make sure these pooches were saved from a rough existence, maybe with their lives shortened from the elements, parasites or road tragedy. On those long days of winter or rain when no one showed up to play golf, he always had someone to talk to and touch. I often wondered what got him through those long days of winter:Gracie and George.
Hopefully, the next time you have the yen to hack out a round of golf or make a total fool of yourself in front of friends or family, go up and check out Gracie and George. I'm sure Bob will welcome you, too.