Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Music to My Ears

I was in the pet store with Kat the other day, holding her hand through her Chihuahua pup's first ever professional bath. While stashing my shopping cart to check on Twinkie, I noticed a most disturbing product: Tag silencers.

Why? Why? Why would anyone want such a thing??? Is the sound of their own dog so annoying??

Since then, I've thought about the sound of Mabel's tags so often. They are the sound of my girl, my life. I can tell so many things by the rhythm of those two bits of metal clanking together.

I know where she is the creek. I can tell if she is on the prowl, giving chase or just lollygagging by the sound of her tags. I also know that I am not alone in that vast wilderness. That somewhere within earshot is my cohort in crime.

I love the muted sound they make underwater when she is taking a dip.

At home, there are other sounds. While she is asleep, they sometimes make a spacey little tink every now and again. Or if she is dreaming, the sounds come faster.

I can tell when she is digging a hole in the backyard. There are other rhythms for chasing squirrels, pilfering for food, anxious pacing for a door to be opened.

Then, there are the times she wakes from a nap and goes looking for me. Mabel never thinks to check the office first. I can hear her strolling through the house and out to the shop. When she doesn't find me there, the tinkling of her tags is faster coming back. If she makes a second round trip, the tags have a panic sound that make me stop what I'm doing and call out to her, "Mamma's here babe!"

There are also times when they are completely quiet and I know she's up to no good.

That little tinkling of her collar is so vital to my very existence, I simply cannot imagine life without it. My first two dogs, both in rescue for over a year, felt naked without their collar and tags - or as we call them in this house - their "jewelry." Poor Maggie May would get so distraught when I took her jewelry off to wash it, she would wait under the clothesline for it to dry!

And when those girls died, it was their collars, that gentle tinkling, that haunted me day and night. I would wake, certain I had heard it. Even wide awake, I would "hear" it in some distant room and go racing, looking for them.

Why would anyone want to silence all that?

Now, you'll have to excuse me. Someone is anxiously pacing by the back door.


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Anonymous said...

Well, Spot's tags would stain his white bib, but that didn't really bother me, until he got his tags caught in the air conditioning/heat register and pulled the register off the floor, and lost one of his tags (which fortunately I could retrieve). I got a Quiet Spot pouch with Velcro after that.

I've heard that some dogs get freaked out by the sound of their tags hitting the water dish or food bowl-that bothered Spot a bit, too. I understand the tinkling letting you know where your dog is, though.

Thinking about collars-I remember when I got Spot as a puppy, he'd never had a collar before and really fought me when I was putting it on him. Now if I take it off, like when I put his new license tag on, he gets upset till I put it back on. Memories...

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Janet, I hadn't thought about the dog not liking the sound... I just thought they were created by silly people who didn't want to be reminded they had a dog. Now I feel like the whole post is silly........

It's all perspective...

Becky said...

Wow, I've never heard of such of thing. It reminds me of the poor little collie in our neighborhood. The owners silenced his bark and when he did bark, it was a sad whisper of a bark.

Anonymous said...

No, it's not silly! I never thought of the sound (obviously), but if I could hear it, I'd be reassured too, knowing the dog was nearby. And if I could hear the dog was coming, I'd have time to hide the Snickers bar. It's probably a matter of what your dog (or cat) can tolerate, and I imagine the tinkling annoys some people. This is something to think about.

Anonymous said...

Not a silly post at all! We each have our important connections to our animals and that is one of yours. That said, being a veteran of *many* greyhound gatherings with lots of people staying at the same motel with their dogs, silencing your dogs tags for those wee hours of the morning walks is essential. Otherwise, you leave a trail of barking dogs following your progress down the hallway...

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Janet, Thanks for your thoughts on this.

Carmon, From my dog show years, collars are a definite no-no there as well. One of the reasons is they mess up the fur on the neckline.

That was great until one of our girls was kidnapped (well before micro-chipping) and I came to the conclusion lost is much worse than dead. I'm sort of a freak about id tags as a result.

Adam said...

Tag silencers? I thought that was available at any store. It's called masking tape!

Mine are chipped too, but they don't wear collars. I have one story about someone else's dog who hanged himself on a fence post on the 4th of July after freaking out about the fireworks in the area (or so it was assumed.) I also have a personal story about a beloved friend who drowned after getting hung up on something underwater by her collar. Don't think for a second that I didn't almost drown myself trying to find her in the murky lake water.

My point is this. Break-away collars don't work...at least they didn't work when I needed one to.

My dogs now will never wear a collar. If they were to ever get lost (God forbid) and be rescued by someone who was unfamiliar with the technology implanted in their bodies, I have the pleasure of knowing that their special personalities will touch the lives of others, if only for a little while. If someone steals them for profit...be prepared. They also have GPS inside them!

Sorry for the long rant.