Working Dogs – and the Security System!

I work nights at the Oakland airport where the year round average temperature is about 65 degrees F (18 C).  There is always a breeze blowing and basically the weather is the primary reason I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.  I drive a small toyota truck with an extended cab and nice camper shell on the back.  I have 2 wonderful dogs that go with me almost everywhere.  They only accompany me when the weather is conducive.  Having lived in Texas for about 12 years I am well aware of the dangers of a hot vehicle and as far as I am concerned any vehicle parked in the sun when the outside temperature is above about 65 deg is too hot for my dogs.  I work graveyard shift, the overnight shift, so I can have my dogs accompany me to work and hang out in the back of my truck while I work.

I have a 10 hour shift and with 2 hours for driving….if I left them home they would be home alone wondering where I am for 12 hours and no way to go outside or eat etc … In my current situation they have a huge bed in the back of my truck, 3 water bowls, they get to go outside at least once a night usually at least 2 or 3 times and they get to stop at dog parks on the way to and from work.  There has been one night that I deemed to be too hot to take them (last night) – not because of the outside temperature but rather the accumulated temperature of my vehicle over the day seemed to me that it would take too long to cool down so I did not want to have them in the vehicle for the possible 1 hour of slight discomfort.

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This is the picture of their encampment in the back of my truck.  The bed is a PVC frame with 2 large couch type cushions on top.  It is super soft and they seem to sleep in about every position on this bed!  It measures about 4 1/2 feet square! Windows all around and newly cleaned blankets almost daily.

I park in an area of the employee parking where I am allowed to back in.  My goal is that if the dogs bark at anyone – for example getting into their car, I impact the fewest amount of people.  The most people I could impact are about 2.  A person parked on either side of me.  No one can park behind me.  There is a dirt run right behind which I use to walk the dogs at night.  I was concerned that maybe my dogs barked more than I thought so I found a way to add cameras to my truck and have a camera aimed on the dogs and at the time of the incident I am about to speak of there was a  camera aiming forward out of my vehicle so I could see people walking by in the event my dogs barked at them

The following 3 videos show what took place at 0135 am on the morning of August 3rd, 2015.  The employee bus had just passed my car at 1:28 am as seen in the still picture.

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Employee bus passing my truck at 1:28 am

 

People would have been let out at the bus stop about 50 ft behind the location of the bus as it is driving away from that bus stop.

This video was taken at 1:32am -the dogs are awake, looking around -not barking.


This video was taken a minute later. Dogs awake and aware but still not barking or agitated in any way.

Now Check out this video and see how quickly things change!!


This video was at 1:35am. I now have a video camera aimed on the back door of truck. It appears to me from the video that some unsuspecting person decided to try and open the vehicle and did not realise there were dogs inside. As they started to open the back hatch of the truck Sky, the white Australian Shepherd lunged at the door and them and pushed the door the rest of the way open and Zulu decided to follow along for the heck of it I guess.  Now I keep the camper shell locked and have a camera aimed at the back door in the event someone tries this again.  The security system was definitely effective.  Whoever it was was scared off by the dog coming at him or her … Sky ran and was on the outside of the parking lot fence when I go there. Zulu stayed right behind the truck.  I reailised they were gone about 10 minutes after it happened and rushed out to the parking lot to see why my dogs were not in the truck.  The back camper shell door was open and the video evidence I was able to review later gave me a better sense of the chain of events short of having an actual suspect.

I called the police to see if they had any surveillance outside the vehicle.  They didn’t and their thought was that someone who heard my dogs barking and felt sorry for my dogs let them out.  If you look at all three videos the main thing you should notice is that if anything- they did not notice the person who had to have come up from behind my vehicle to open it.  There were no barks ahead of time -only the barks when they were surprised by the intruder.  Hopefully that person has learned better than to open other peoples vehicles and I now lock the camper shell to avoid such intrusions!

Here’s a video of their ride to work – my truck could use some better shocks!  But they seem to be enjoying the ride and the view

And here is Zulu making himself comfortable –making his bed – as you can see ample room for both pups!

I do love my dogs -they are my family and though it would be more convenient for me to leave them at home when I work -but would that really be the humane thing to do.  Left at home wondering for 12 hours where I am .I had to leave them home the other night because it was just too hot.  They seem more on guard and less restful than they do at work …

I had the videos on them of course- Zulu slept peacefully as usual but Sky was vigilant all night long -pacing looking and listening and staying on perpetual guard.  As you can see the size of the bed they chose to sleep in is actually slightly smaller than the one in my truck.  They chose to sleep outside on my other boat as opposed to inside out of the weather.  It was hot inside so I don’t blame them for wanting a little breeze …

I know I’m crazy about my dogs and maybe a bit crazy otherwise but they are worth it.  Right now as I write this, Zulu is sound asleep in his bed and Sky -always needing to know where I am is asleep at the foot of my bed with her head on my leg so she knows my every move.  She is so faithful!!

 

A lesson we all could learn

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There is so much we can all learn from one another and especially from ‘man’s best friend, the dog!.

The other day as I accompanied my pups on a walk at the beach I once again noted especially in Zulu, his innate desire to meet and greet.  As a puppy he thought he was tough and larger than he was and wound up getting out run and out smarted.  As an adult 4 year old dog he has learned the art of chivalry and perception.  He runs with joy to meet new dogs or people and seems to know when that joy might not be reciprocated.  He seems to know those humans who may not want to pet a dog and likewise those dogs who don’t want to partake in the sniff and greets.

2015-06-27 08.20.20On those times when his perceptions incline him, it is really incredible to see the interactions.  Zulu and his new found friend of the moment run up to one another and kind of crouch down nose to nose, both tails wagging.  The pose can be held for seconds until they determine if a playful chase is in order.  In quick order a friendship is made with playful interactions.

In like manner I notice us humans.  The humans with dogs seem to instinctively follow their dogs’ well-taught manners.  There is something about having a dog with you that encourages you to interact with other dog owners.  It’s rare that two dog owners can do less than at least say hello to one another as they pass.  Even people without dogs will greet you when you have a dog with you.  There are those who prefer to not interact in anyway but for the most part dogs are a great example for us all.  Dog owners always seem to find something in common to discuss.

Crissy field is my favourite place to take my dogs.  It is not a dog park per se but is a dog friendly environment where there just seem to be the best level of interactions.  I have encountered people with kids and no dogs who actually bring their kids to the beach to interact with the dogs.  The dog owners at Crissy Field seem to be the most respectful of others that I have encountered in the SF Bay Area.  The dog owners clean up after their dogs and keep their dogs away from kids and people when it seems appropriate.

I’m a shy person at heart and don’t really seek out interactions -but when with my dogs it seems natural to let the dogs play with one another and for us humans to at least follow the example of friendliness.  Dogs are great role models!  They are unconditionally loving, especially towards their food supply source.  Yes I love my dogs and love the examples they set for me and all.

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