Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Fugitive

Getting ready for church this morning and discovered that the dog had dug out under the fence.  Looked in the usual places then got in the car to expand the search.  It was foggy when we started and the fog got denser as the morning grew older.  By 9:30 we couldn't see a hundred feet.

The Lovely Bride dropped me back at the house so I could log onto the AKC site and report the dog missing and also call the local animal shelter.  I got tired of waiting for her to come back so I requisitioned all the lawn mower gas and put it in my car so I could look too.  By that time the fog was burning off but there wasn't a sign of the dog  anywhere.

Met up with TLB and decided to leave my car at the house and search in one vehicle so at least one of us wouldn't be distracted by having to do the driving.  I kept thinking the dog had gone North so we started working in that direction.  About 2 miles from the house we decided to shift to going West and headed a mile or two that way until we got to a six lane highway.  At that point, I advocated turning left but TLB made a U turn instead.  I figured maybe she sensed something so I didn't complain.  We drove all the way back to where we had started working West and there he was.

The dog was loping down a 4 lane highway.  He crossed the intersection headed home maybe a hundred yards from us.  I told TLB to hit the horn to get his attention thinking he'd come to the car.  She stood on it and he stopped but wouldn't come.   I got out of the car so he could see it was me and he decided that meant we were hunting.  I got within thirty yards of him and he bolted.  I lost sight of him for maybe four seconds as I rounded the corner because there's an embankment at the corner.  I got there and he was just gone.  I looked into the woods and across the street but there wasn't a sign of him.  TLB drove past, stopped the car fifty yards down the road and got out.  I had to hoof it down to her just to find out if she stopped because she saw him.  She hadn't.  She had just stopped way the hell down there and gotten out of the car for no particular reason.  On the way back to where I had last seen him, I chatted with a helpful retired couple who asked if the dog was ours.  They had gotten him out of the traffic and to the side of the road.  He had been even further North than we had searched.  They said they'd look for him.

West seemed to be the only direction in which he could have disappeared so quickly so I climbed the embankment and picked my way through the barbed wire fence.  I found myself in a wooded corner of a pasture full of cows.  I found a dead cow skeleton just like in the movies when someone is lost in the desert but no dog.  I sent TLB a message suggesting she go home in case the dog had already gotten there but she didn't get it.  She drove up to the fence to get me and we decided to head West again.  The dog had to have headed West after he saw me.  We got about half a mile and saw the dog at the edge of the woods.  I told her to drive right up to him and when she did, he came to the car.   Just hopped right in when I opened the door.

When he had seen me the first time, he had gone up the embankment, through the barbed wire fence and out of sight before I could get to him.  He had continued casting about while I was getting to the car and talking to the retired couple.  By the time I got done with all that, he was through another fence and into the woods.

Got him home, repaired the trench where he dug out and hooked up my old electric fence.   He already has a collar that zaps him when he gets too close to the fence.  The difficulty with that is that TLB doesn't put it on him when she gets up and lets him out first thing in the morning.   She waits until the second time he goes outside.  Seriously.  That's why he got out in the first place.  He wears a regular collar 24/7 and she puts the shock collar on him when she lets him out for the second time every day.  His shock collar was on the kitchen counter.  That's not a small detail.  That's pretty much fundamental.   The logic escapes me.  Why not put the collar on the first time he goes outside?  Why is it better to wait and put it on the second time he goes outside?  I seriously do not get it.  I suspect that If I understood crap like that I'd either be rich or in an asylum somewhere trying to untie my sleeves.

With the real electric fence running, the dog will hit a real electric fence wire when he tries to get out.   Won't matter if its the first or second time out in the morning either.   The wire is between the fence and the wire for his shock collar so he won't get hit unless crosses  the "invisible fence" wire.    This way, the shock collar will actually keep him from getting zapped by a much stronger shock.  Who knows, maybe that will be incentive to put the collar on the first time he goes outside.

When I plugged the electric fence in,  I walked the whole fence line to clear pine needles, twigs and leaves off the wire.  I brushed up against it and it stung me enough to notice.  I kept on doing what I was doing until I got near a crepe myrtle tree near the gate.  At that point I could smell smoke.  Turned out that the wire was contacting the tree and it was burning itself into the tree.  It had stung me enough be uncomfortable even though the wire was half-grounded through the tree.   I cut a piece of PVC pipe to insulate the tree and it arced like a spark plug when I moved the wire.  With that ground gone, its going to be a hell of a jolt when somebody hits it.  I remember it as being something like the sting of a very large wasp.

Next we headed to Gander Mtn. to get a GPS collar so we could find him the next time he gets out.  Naturally they had exactly one on the shelf and there was no price on it, the shelf or the display.  At the register, we asked the girl to tell us the price.  It was six hundred forty-nine dollars. 

I just couldn't come to grips with paying six hundred forty-nine dollars for a collar that TLB wouldn't put on him until the second time she lets him out for the day so we said "thanks but no-thanks" and decided to shop on line.  We found the same collar for fifty bucks less but it was still a question of spending money for a collar that he wouldn't be wearing so we kept on looking.  I looked at other brands and I looked at telemetry tracking collars but everything required its own collar and TLB won't put the shock collar that we have now on him until the second time he goes out in the morning.  Would this collar require waiting until the third time every morning?    Your guess is as good as mine.

Eventually we found something called Traxx.  Its a GPS locator that will give you the dog's location and a map showing your position and the dog's.  It displays it on your I phone.  You tell it where "home" is and it alerts you by email and text message if he goes outside the boundaries of "home."   It won't work at all where I hunt because there's no cell phone service there but it had good reviews and for $100 I figured that even if it didn't work at home  it wouldn't break the bank.  The good thing is that I will be able to attach it to the dog's regular collar so he will be wearing it  the next time he tries to get out.  It should be here in a few days.

Then dusk fell on another restful Sabbath.

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