Wednesday, December 16, 2009
So recently my beloved Steeler jumped out yet another window into the freedom of the front yard., The front yard, where only Chance and Casey are allowed access because they are not likely to look for broken fence pickets and push their bodies through to get to the street, and if by chance either were smart enough to do so, they would just run down the driveway and head to my mother’s for some tea and crumpets. Steeler, who if were female, I would have to name Elsa because he thrives on being ‘Born Free’ and is a dog with a different story. If you have read my past posts you surely would have heard all the stories of his attempts to seek greener grasses. My thanks go out to my many thoughtful neighbors, who when once they spot him in their yard and realize he is not a black bear passing through the neighborhood, gladly grab him and walk him home or wait patiently, sometimes clad in pajamas, on their front lawns grasping his collar until they see the familiar blue van driving slowly down the street calling his name.
I have to say he is good at his game. I thought I had secured every window he would possibly try to get out of but I certainly did not anticipate that he would actually resort to moving large pieces of furniture in an attempt to break out. He has become a bit more thoughtful though as he stopped busting through the screens and is now considerate enough to push the screens up as he does the windows. This is why when you pass my house you will either see no screen or a screen that has been pushed up half way.
His latest romp took him walking in the middle of a fairly busy road not far from home. A neighbor, which I had never met until that night, happened to be traveling that dark busy road with his children and when he stopped and opened his van door for Steeler, Steeler gladly jumped in, at which point the family took him home.
In the mean time, I am traveling down many neighborhood roads with a wee flashlight trying to find a black dog in the black of the night with my heart slowly moving up toward my throat. I always seem to start panicking right around the 15 minute mark when one of my dogs has gone missing as I am gripped with fear that I am going to find them hurt, or worse, on the side of the road.
While driving I suddenly I heard my cell phone ring and it was my neighbor Deb.
“Sally, there’s a guy and his kids walking Steeler to your house, they just passed here so they should be there shortly.”
Thank God! I thought. “Okay, thanks Deb.” I said as I quickly headed for home. That Deb, she knows everything!
Upon pulling up in front of my house I saw a gentleman and his two young boys braving the first frigid winds of the winter trying to manipulate the crotchety old gate lock attached to the crotchety old fence that lines my front yard. A feat that is hard enough to do in the daytime let alone in the dark of night.
I pulled the van up as close to them as I could and jumped out.
“Thank you!” I said with a big sigh of relief as Steeler practically pulled the man’s arm off trying to get to my van. “Where did you find him?” I asked.
“Hi.” the gentleman said. “He was walking in the middle of Sunbury Road. We stopped, opened the car door and he jumped in. We got home and I saw his tags and called our neighbor Lynn and she told me where he lived.”
The wind was whipping now as the three of them stood amongst the cold poorly shoveled walkway to my home. The little boys had their heads tucked deeply into their hoods, but it offered little comfort. I put Steeler in the back of the van and closed the door. The wind whipped a bit more as the three started for home.
“Where do you live?” I asked. “I have no back seats in my van for obvious reasons, but you could pile into the front seat.”
“No, that’s okay, we’re just around the corner.” The man said as they disappeared from sight.
Could it have been Santa and his little Elves doing a good deed? Surely for me it was.
It is I believe, Steeler’s Therapy Dog tags that are his saving grace, because surely he would go with anyone who opened their car door to him and probably would happily spend the rest of his life with whomever!
Why is this whole story pertinent to begin with? Well it was the first time Steeler had gotten out of the yard during the dark of night and I just then realized how hard he was to find in such darkness, and if I could not see him, what chance did a moving vehicle stand of spotting him on a darkened highway?
Hence the next day I went in search of a reflective collar. A normal collar would not do because of Steeler’s long hair and tri fold neck. Nope, we had to find something that would stand out so he could be seen from a distance and something that would not be pulled off during play like one of the flashing collar tags you hook to the loop near the license. Someone suggested reflective tape from a hardware store and that may work for some dogs but my guys can get pretty rough and tumble and I thought that would peal too easily.
Enter the Lighted Collar Cover by Top Paw. It is about seven inches long; it has three Velcro attachments (top, middle, & bottom) and can fit on any large collar. But again my dilemma was the long hair and skin folds around Steelers neck making his collar not so visible. Solution? Attach it to his harness!
The lighted collar has three settings, fast flashing, slower flashing or no flashing, just light. The switch to change settings is a push button inside the cover, but you don’t have to open the cover to do so. The cost was $7.99 at PetSmart and well worth the money. Even when the collar cover is turned off there is still a reflective look to it so I feel it would still be picked up by car headlights. It runs on a lithium watch battery which is easy enough to replace when needed. All I have to do is remember to turn it on at night! Oh and lock all windows!
If you are a late night/early morning walker, jogger or fresh air freak and you enjoy outside time with your dog I would highly suggest this item.
This gets all paws up, way up, from this dog mama! To see this product work go to my you tube site here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV8tqJ_qNqk