What really happens…

It’s six o’clock on Tuesday morning. Bernie and Chris are in the car, and we are going to the desert.  Over our heads hang black storm clouds. Lightning flashes in the north and rolling thunder follows. If the normal weather pattern continues, I’ve about thirty minutes before the downpour reaches us. Our exercise desert spot is ten minutes away.

I go for it. Reaching the desert, I let the dogs out and grab my camera and remote device. I always carry the remote when the dogs are off their leash, and they are always off-leash in the desert.

 storm389Placing the remote on the car hood, I compose a few photos. I want Bernie and Chris in the foreground with the storm as the background. I’m hoping to capture a lightning flash.

Despite snapping several photos, there isn’t any lightning. However, the wind freshens, and it’s time to get the dogs back in the car and leave. The rain is only minutes away.

Bumping over the desert ruts, we reach the smooth pavement and make a left turn to race directly home.

In the carport is when disaster strikes.

When in the car, I always place the remote device in the tray between the front seats. Shutting off the engine, I reach for the remote. It isn’t there.

Searching my pants’ pocket, even though I don’t feel any lumpy remote, I remember placing the device on the hood of the car.

I close my eyes. A trick I learned long ago.

The mind records everything. Did you ever almost see something in the corner of your eye? Poof, it is gone.

While driving home, I have that experience.

Closing my eyes does two things. First, all distractions are eliminated. Second, it calms and allows me to review what my mind records. While driving, I thought I saw something flit by my eyes.

Perhaps, while driving, my remote is still laying on the car hood. At one point, it detaches and sails off.

The only thing I can recall is the approximate area. It happens after the stoplight and before the road bends, about a half-mile further ahead.

Otherwise, the remote falls off somewhere during the bumpy ride through the dirt trails, or perhaps when the car lurches from the desert to the smooth pavement.

Bernie and Chris calmly wait in the car as I process my options. Replacing the remote will cost two hundred dollars. Searching and finding the remote only costs my time. It’s a no-brainer.

The dogs, sensing my disappointment and frustration as I open the back door, meekly exit the car and calmly ascend the porch stairs. With them safely inside, I shut the front door, get back in the car and retrace my route.

It is only six-thirty, and the traffic is extremely light. If the remote fell into the road, the quicker I find it, the fewer tires will damage it. Reaching the stoplight, I turn around and activate my emergency flashers. Slowing down, I search for a dull black remote device on the smooth black road surface. Alternately, I shift my focus from the street to the near roadside. Only two cars pass me.

Directly ahead a single dark bump distinguishes itself from the level black pavement. I pull off and stop.



I’ve found my poor remote.

Battle-scarred from passing motorists, it has lost the protective antenna housing. For more than five years, it was unblemished. Now it is a pitiful sight. Does it still work?

I’m eager to find out. Returning to the car, I turn off the emergency flashers and pull back on the road to rush home. There is only one way to test the unit. The dog collar metal contacts dig into my flesh. I press each button and feel the electric charge. Despite the device’s terrible appearance, it functions.

How does the electric charge feel? It isn’t anything to be afraid of. You undergo the same stimulating tingle every time you experience static electricity. It doesn’t hurt you. It does completely make you aware.

That is the intent when using a ‘shock collar’ on a dog. It gets the dog’s attention without hurting the animal. It’s much less harmful than physically striking the dog. And, like the static stimulation you feel, it effectively modifies behavior.

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