Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A dog's life...saved by technology.

It's a lifesaver
So anyway, I've mentioned before that DiggingDog works the graveyard shift for our local canine signal corps.  Every night, for hours on end, she passes directives to and from the neighbor dogs. These other dogs are at least a quarter mile away, so she must put considerable effort into passing these messages.  Sometimes her efforts are so strenuous that I can feel the sunroom frame vibrating. Obviously, this condition is not conducive to human sleep.

Such was the case Friday night. I went to bed about midnight, two hours or so after the relay began.  In order to make sure I knew she was working, DiggingDog moved directly outside my window. Bark-bark-bark, in groups of seven or eight, depending upon the messages being transmitted.  By 2 am I, still awake, was contemplating various accidents she was going to be involved in, most of them ending her miserable life. But it would probably just be easier to leave*, so I moved to an empty bed in Mr. Charisma's room on the other side of the house.

DiggingDog apparently decided that were I not within barking distance, I would not appreciate how hard she was working. So she parked herself immediately outside Mr. Charisma's bedroom window. By 3am, I had developed a very long list of exquisite tortures for her, but I was too tired to kill her at that point.

Instead I moved upstairs to an empty bedroom and put in some ear buds so I could listen to storm sounds on Youtube. I lay there wincing and twitching as I heard her barks even over the thunder. Unable to fly up to that bedroom window, she wasn't actually within hearing distance and probably had given up at that point. Yet that rhythm -- bark bark bark, 7 barks, now 8, now only 3 -- remained with me until I finally passed out from pure exhaustion.  At 5am, Mr. Charisma's little brother, Dino Baggins, awoke and demanded his morning bottle. Saturday was a very long day.

But at a family picnic yesterday, my newest brother in law mentioned an ultrasonic dog trainer he used to quiet his neighbor's terrier.  I, not being a TV watcher, had never heard of such a thing. But I brought up my handy dandy WalMart app and quickly located the First Alert Automatic Bark Genie, a 9v-driven electronic speaker that emits a dog-hearing-level squeal every time it detects a bark. I'm not sure whether it distracts or annoys the barker. Nor do I care, so long as the result is no repeats of Friday night.

I hung it outside of the sunroom last night just as DiggingDog was warming up for her shift. Thirty minutes later she climbed to her observation post atop the picnic table and cut loose with a double-bark. Then she stopped and looked around. She hit another note, then stared accusingly at me through the sunroom window. Finally she padded away, confused.  As I was putting Mr. Charisma to bed a half hour later, I heard her again just outside his window. Bark bark. Pause. Bark. Then nothing.

I saw her last when she came slinking across the deck at about 10pm. She stopped to look at me through the sunroom window, her face the most forlorn I had ever seen it. She was utterly defeated, her beloved signal corps destroyed. With a shrug of resignation, she moped into the silent night.  I slept 8 hours without moving.

Highly recommend.

* Plus, the kids really like her.


  1. Very nice. Thank you.

    Having acreage plus several dogs sometimes causes problems that are not alleviated by a single ultrasonic dog bombing device. We tried citronella collars No effect. Then we tried a collar on each dog that operated by a human pressing a button, and it had three modes: A noise, a loud buzz which included vibrate, and electric shock. Only a couple of times did we need to go to the Third Mode, but believe me, there were many times when I wanted to start there. We still haves two of those dogs, both dobermans, and the third, which was a serious offender, well, we found a new home for her where she is mainly an "inside dog," and she has such a small back yard (in town) to run in that her new family has little choice but to keep her under control.

    Yes... sleep. Joyous sleep.


    1. I suspect that with multiple dogs, it messes up the cause and effect, since they all get notified even when only one barks.

      DiggingDog didn't even come on the deck last night. Instead, she spent the evening moping around the driveway and not-barking. I believe the SEK Canine Signal Corps has been destroyed.


  2. dang it man, you are just a reactionary speciesist.

    how dare you assert that so called 'sleep' is more important to you than barking is to the dog?

    cishet White Male bourgeois human patriarchy strikes again.

    1. You say that like it's a bad thing.

  3. Who knows what kind of canine catastrophe will ensue now that she can't warn her crew.