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Meet The Dog That Saved Our Son’s Life

Hearing Ear Service Dog

Derby the Wonder Dog!

It has been eight months since I last posted anything on this blog. As I explained at the time, our oldest son was seriously ill and could not be left alone, so I did what any parent would do—I gave up cycling, blogging and a lot of other things to make sure that either my wife or I could be with our son at all times.

Though he only looks like a student in junior high school, our son is now 36 years old. He was born with multiple birth defects as a result of German Measles (Rubella). Before he was born someone with German Measles got near my wife during her second trimester and our son was born with all of the normal problems that accompany congenital rubella syndrome (deafness, partial blindness, heart abnormalities, developmental delay and a host of other conditions). Last August his health took a serious turn for the worse and he gave up on living—he got down to 98 pounds and was refusing to eat. By the way, if you are one of those people who think that vaccines were concocted by pharmaceutical companies just to fleece people out of their money, let me say this kindly, you are a profound idiot.

My last post was on September 5, 2014—that was the day after we adopted a black Labrador Retriever named Derby. The dog was only nine months old when we adopted him, but this canine has truly saved our son’s life! Derby, like most Labrador Retrievers, was a “high energy” dog when we brought him home and I knew he was going to be a handful. We hired a dog trainer to get him under control, and after a few lessons we decided to pay to have him trained as a Service Dog (a “hearing ear dog” in our case). Last month Derby finished his training and now accompanies our son everywhere. This dog is the reason our son gets out of bed in the morning and is his closest friend.

Derby is such a wonderful companion and faithful friend that we now feel comfortable leaving our son in his care. As a result, the first week of April I was able to ride a bicycle for the first time in over six months! The first few rides were short and slow, but I have worked my way back up to medium-length rides (50 to 60 miles each) a few times a week. Hopefully, I will be able to go on longer rides real soon.

Going back to the bike shop after such a long absence seemed strange, but I felt at home within a few minutes. Hopefully I will be able to resume writing product reviews in June.

Take care and ride safely!

 

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How To Stop Dogs From Chasing Cyclists

I like dogs—they are usually friendly, fiercely loyal and have more common sense than a lot of people I know. Unfortunately, they can be extremely territorial and, like some motorists, they think they own the road (or at least the road in front of where they live). When a dog chases a cyclist it is usually because the dog thinks he is doing his job, i.e., protecting his property.

Halt! Dog Repellent

Halt! Dog Repellent

I wish I could tell you that I am always able to outrun dogs, but the truth is that sometimes I can’t, and beyond that, some dogs seem to come out of nowhere and attack without warning. You will never really know how fast you can pedal your bike until you are being chased by an angry Rottweiler. From personal experience I can tell that having a dog chase you is a great bit of motivation.

I always carry Halt! Dog Repellent with me on nighttime rides, off-road trails, and when I am checking out a new route for the first time. I started carrying Halt! Dog Repellent several years ago after two small dogs refused to allow me to get past them on a bike trail. It finally took a well-placed rock the size of a softball for the mutts to back off and let me pass.

Halt! Dog Repellent contains capsaicin (chili-peppers) and shoots out a pressurized spray that has an effective range of about 10 feet. This product has been used by the U.S. Postal Service for 35 years and works well. A couple of years ago I was on a bike trail when a dog came out of nowhere and was very intent on sinking his teeth into my right ankle. I pulled out the Halt! Dog Repellent and just as I was about to spray it the dog apparently recognized the can and ran away. I can only imagine that somewhere along the way that dog had a postal worker introduce him to Halt! Dog Repellent and he decided not to try it again.

Last spring a little ankle-biter chased after me and I could have outrun him, but it was on a very busy road and I was worried that some other cyclist might get hit by a car while trying to avoid this little creature. I stopped my bike by the side of the road and was about to spray the dog when a little boy came running out of the house calling for his dog. When the boy got close to me I told him that I like dogs, but I don’t like being chased. I then said, “Son, if your dog chases me again I am going to spray him with this can of pepper spray—he won’t like it, but it won’t kill him. Now go inside your house and tell your parents what I told you.” A few days later I was back on that same road and the little ankle-biter came running after me again, so I stopped and gave him a face full of pepper spray—he took off running towards the house yipping like you wouldn’t believe. Before any of you dog-lovers get upset I want you to know that I probably saved his life—he had to dart into traffic just to chase me and it would only be a matter of time before he got hit by a car. The good news is that the rest of the year the dog decided to stay on the front porch of the house every time I went by.

On off-road night rides I run into a lot of varmints (both four-legged and two-legged) and I always feel safer knowing I have a can of Halt! Dog Repellent in my jersey. You can find Halt! Dog Repellent at many bike shops—if the shop you use doesn’t carry it you can easily find it on Amazon.com.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Bicycle Safety

 

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DAZER II Ultrasonic Dog Deterrent

Getting chased by a dog when you are cycling on a country road is not really a big deal since you can usually outrun them. Dogs in the city are a different matter since you often have no choice but to stop and deal with them. I have found the DAZER II Ultrasonic Dog Deterrent to be an excellent product in dealing with dogs.

DAZER II Ultrasonic Dog Deterrent

DAZER II Ultrasonic Dog Deterrent

While products like Halt! Dog Repellent are great at teaching a dog a lesson in courtesy, they also have a tendency to create a very angry dog owner. Having a dog owner chase you down in his car can lead to all sorts of problems, including a trip to the hospital. So, how can you stop a dog without either harming the dog or upsetting the dog’s owner? Use the DAZER II Ultrasonic Dog Deterrent and not only will the dog stop in his tracks, but the owner will never find out.

The DAZER II Ultrasonic Dog Deterrent stops dogs by use of high frequency sound bursts. You will never hear the DAZER working, but the dog certainly will (unless he is deaf). I’ve used the DAZER to stop everything from Pit Bulls to ankle biters and it really works. However, I doubt it would have any effect on a police or security dog since they are highly trained and tend to ignore such distractions (they also are pretty good at ignoring pepper spray).

The DAZER has an effective range of about 15 feet and the closer the dog gets to you the better the DAZER works. I’ve owned one for these devices for about six years. I had to buy a second one a few months ago because I loaned my old one to a postman and he doesn’t want to give it back! The DAZER is about the size of an old garage door opener (4.5 x 2 x1.25 inches), weights about 4.3 ounces and runs on a single 9-volt battery.

This product has a retail price of $40, but it is available on Amazon.com for $25.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Bicycle Safety

 

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Halt! Dog Repellent

You will never know how fast you can really go on your bike until you are chased by an angry Rottweiler who thinks he is defending his territory. From personal experience I can tell that having a dog chase you is the highest form of motivation.

I always carry Halt! Dog Repellent with me on night rides, off-road trails, and when I am checking out a new route for the first time. I started carrying Halt! several years ago after two small dogs refused to allow me to get past them on a bike trail. It finally took a well-placed stone the size of a softball for the mutts to back off and let me pass.

Halt! Dog Repellent

Halt! Dog Repellent

Halt! contains capsaicin (chili-peppers) and shoots out a pressurized spray that has an effective range of about 10 feet. This product has been used by the U.S. Postal Service for 35 years and works well.

A couple of years ago I was on a bike trail when a dog came out of nowhere and was very intent on sinking his teeth into my right ankle. I pulled out the Halt! and just as I was about to spray it the dog apparently recognized the can and ran away. I can only imagine that somewhere along the way that dog had a mailman introduce him to Halt! and he decided not to try it again.

On off-road night rides I run into a lot of varmints (both four-legged and two-legged) and I always feel safer knowing I have a can of Halt! in my jersey. I purchased Halt! off of Amazon.com for under $4.50 a can.

 

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