The Daily Digital Photo
Chronicling the life of Clayton and Spenser, with memories of Scooter

April 12, 2007

What ARE all those collars that Spenser wears? Well let's see. First off of course is his regular collar which sports his ID tag. The other two collars he wears only when he goes out to the woods. Soon after we moved here, Phillip took on the industrious task of surrounding our 4 acres of woods and meadow with an underground "invisible" fence. Actually it is not underground, there was no need to bury it as one would in a yard, and it didn't take long for leaves and other woodsy debris to cover it up. So Spenser wears a collar with the invisible fence receiver, which will give him a shock if he gets within about three feet of the wire. Spenser knows exactly where the wire is located and he will frequently go just up to it and bark at whatever is or was out there. Dogs are supposed to think that it's all shock out past the invisible fence but if they do get through it they learn that it's not, and Spenser knows that all too well. And on occasion, such as when a herd of deer run through the woods, he will run through the fence. So also on the invisible fence collar is a receiver which can deliver a shock from a radio controlled wand which Phillip or I carry. If we see Spenser run out then we can give him a shock through the other receiver and this just about always brings him back. But if we don't see him get out (though will usually hear him as he passes through the fence) then we are generally out of luck and Spenser is gone. We are surrounded by a few thousand acres of woods so he has quite a large play area. But there are many dangers including roads, traps, and barbed wire so we need to get Spenser back as soon as possible. So Spenser wears a tracking collar and Phillip carries a large antenna in a Robin Hood kind of bag over his shoulder. When Spenser escapes, Phillip heads out on his trail into the woods. He has covered a large part of those few thousand acres over the years, forging through pricker bushes, crossing muddy streams, the sort of thing one does in boot camp. While he's out in the woods I'm usually in the car either listening for Spenser's bark or asking neighbors if they'd seen him. Phillip calls me when he finds him and I usually have to pick them up in the car. Spenser is invariably muddy, covered with ticks, exhausted but supremely happy. Clayton occasionally follows Spenser but never gets more than a few hundred yards before he turns around. Nevertheless he wears a tracking collar just in case. Scooter only wore a invisible fence collar and he never ran though, not a single time. In fact he used to come to a screeching halt at the fence line when charging his arch-nemesis Buddy the black Lab from next door. I would tell you that Spenser has been very good and not run away in several months, but that would jinx it so I won't.