Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ten Thousand Volts

By Julie Rahm
Last week I wrote a tutorial on invisible fences for dogs. Or, better defined, “pet containment systems”. As you recall, my in-laws had a buried wire system for their German Shepherd named Luther. Luther was a formidable dog. A rescue dog, Luther was big, fast and ferocious. As an example incident, the Jehovah Witnesses stopped visiting my in-laws when Luther decided no one at his address was going to convert (ever). Luckily for the Jehovah Witness, he visited my in-laws wearing a raincoat. Luther shredded the coat while pulling it off the soliciting evangelist. The raincoat distraction gave the Jehovah Witness precious seconds to retreat back into his car. Luther also liked to chase bicycles. He was able to run down a bicyclist riding full speed. Despite the biker’s colorful aerodynamic clothes, Luther was able to close the distance and provide a “wind sprint” exercise opportunity. Despite his fierceness, Luther was extremely tolerant of our young daughters. He endured a lot of undeserved ear and tail pulling. Luther loved the girls and was very protective. Ultimately, my in-laws installed an electronic pet containment system to keep Luther in the yard. However, Luther was undeterred. Luther bolted through the electronic fence accepting the zap of electricity in the process. Pursuit must have been worth the pain. So, fast-forward to a family summer picnic.
     Luther is still bolting through the fence. Over “some” beers, John and his brother deduce the electric shock supplied by the dog’s collar is too weak to deter Luther. So, in a flash of intellectual (non) brilliance, these two grown (and educated) men decide to try running through the invisible fence wearing the dog’s collar! How else can one ascertain if the electric shock is substantial enough? Why not try it yourself? Obviously, trial is the best way! My husband does confess it was not his best moment. I attribute the decision to alcohol, testosterone, bravado and sibling rivalry. John was the first to don the electric shock collar and run through the invisible fence. At full sprint, John received a ten thousand volt, half-ampere electric shock. It buckled his knees as he exited the “fence”. John recovered from the voltage on his hands and knees. Not to be outdone, John’s brother performed the same feat with the same result, down on the ground, on hands and knees. For the life of me, I can’t imagine!
     I reflect often on my husband’s dog collar incident and ponder the nature of males. I take solace because these dog-collar-wearing males are same ones that go to Kuwait, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. These males endure physical and mental hardships that are uncomfortable to consider. These males go to nasty places to do the nation’s dirty work. They answer the call and go because the nation decided. Some go and are gone forever. So my metaphor this week is when your husband dons an electric shock dog collar, he deserves some slack.
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