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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
Terry Spradley
Living with dogs - The gift that keeps on giving
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By Terry Spradley
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Aug. 14, 2013 2:10 p.m.
By Terry Spradley
Nov. 28, 2012 4:27 p.m.

Every year at Christmas, along with her holiday gifts my mom always includes a few stocking stuffers in the UPS package. Items that often have "As see on TV," emblazoned across the package.

One of these little stocking stuffers that caught my eye was a key-finder alert that attached to your key chain. With a whistle you could set off an alarm and flashing red LED light to help you locate your keys.

I rarely misplace my keys anymore. They're either in the truck or in my pocket if I'm some place that requires locking the truck, but it interested me so I went out to retrieve y keys from the truck and attach them to the key-finder.

I tossed the keys and attached finder on the dresser and turn to leave the room. The impact set off the finder and a repeating tone went beep beep beep three times in a row as the red LED flashed off and on.

"Okay, so more than just a whistle will set it off, good to know."

The beeping continued for what seemed like a little too long before resetting.

Turns out a whole lot more than whistling would set off the repeating audio alarm and flashing light.

Sneezing in the living room, shutting a cabinet door, or just walking passed the dresser a little too fast would set off the repeating beep, beep, beep, and light for three of four sequences before resetting.

The key-finder does not have an on/off switch.

The package said alarm helps you "keep track of your keys."

I can understand how. After a day of beeping and flashing lights every time I moved too fast or made a loud noise I was totally conscious of where my keys were at all times.

Like Pavlov's dogs, the positive and negative reinforcement was working. After a few trips setting the alarm off as I passed by it I found myself instinctively slowing my walk and treading more lightly each time I approached the bedroom.

While doing dishes in the kitchen I was extra cautious placing the plates in the drainer so the clank didn't set off the alarm. I even turned down the surround sound a bit so loud noises from the television wouldn't set it off.

Lightning didn't care much for the finder either. The beeping sounded quite a bit like the warning tone his collar makes just before shocking him for moving outside his electronic perimeter.

Every time it would go off his ears would perk up and he would nervously look about the room like a cardiac patient during a flat-line alarm.

By nightfall I was trained to move about the house without disturbing the finder too often. I put the dogs out for the night and took myself to bed.

About 2 a.m., I arose to such a clatter.

No it wasn't Santa Claus and eight tiny reindeer. It was a flashing red LED and a computerized beep beep beep, pause, beep beep beep.

Just as I started to doze back off, I discovered the source that set off the alarm as a bark from Lightning outside my window set off the finder's computerized warning.

Lighting would bark and the alarm would go off. I'd holler at Lightning for barking, and the alarm would go off.

3 a.m., dog bark, beep beep beep, 4 a.m., dog bark, beep beep beep, 5 a.m., beep beep bee… I got up put on my boots and carted the truck keys and beeping finder back out to the truck where they started about 18 hours earlier.

I told Lightning to shut up, and went back in for a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Monday, as I got in the truck and grabbed for my keys, the beep, beep, beep of the finder started again.

"You know, I almost never misplace my keys. What I can't seem to keep track of are the dogs..."

As the statement went through my mind, I caught sight of Lightning peacefully snoozing near the driveway.

I grabbed a carabiner clip from the truck and when the keeper quit beeping I walked over and clipped it to Lightning's collar.

As I started the truck, I saw the red flashing light on the finder go off, heard the beeping start and watched as Lightning woke up and nervously looked around before moving a little closer to the house.

With no shock to stop him the finder may not keep him in the yard for long, but at least I'll know how to "keep track" of him.

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