I’ve been at the museum for four weeks now, so it’s about time I introduced myself. I’m new here in many ways – as well as being a recent employee, I’m the first one who’s a dog.
I’m here because of seagulls. When they are not stealing tourists’ chips, they spend much of their time making a mess of our wharves and vessels. Seagull poo, I’ve learnt, is bad news for boats. It stains their paintwork and varnish, plus it’s a health hazard and unpleasant for our visitors.
Our staff spend many tedious hours constantly cleaning this muck away. They’ve tried various methods to scare off the gulls – ultrasonics, statues of birds of prey, humming line, sprinklers activated by motion sensors, or just hosing them. No luck. But then they discovered that other places had had success with dogs. A cunning plan was born, and I was adopted from a working dog rescue centre.
As with all new jobs, there are plenty of things to learn. I had to have my photo taken for my staff ID tag. I was also fitted with my work gear – a bright yellow life vest in case over-eager chasing lands me in the harbour. I had to familiarise myself with the museum’s waterfront, which I patrol frequently with a handler. This is particularly important at night, when the gulls roost on the wharves and there’s no human activity around to spook them.
It’s not all work, though. My human colleagues have been very welcoming, and give me plenty of walks, playtime and affection. I have a cosy bed in the control room plus a kennel on a terrace above it, and I’ve got round-the-clock company from our security staff. I get some pampering, too – I’m brushed regularly and professionally groomed once a fortnight at the local vet.
So next time you come to the museum, you might see me around. If I’m wearing my yellow vest and my ID tag, that means I’m working, and would prefer not to be distracted. But if I’m out of uniform, come over for a pat and a chat. I’d love to meet you!