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Kerries in the Dark: Be safe, Be Seen

 


This time of year, it’s possible that an early morning or an after-dinner walk with your kerry might be taking place in the dark. Even letting your kerry out for a jaunt around the yard can take on new dimensions when you have a dark-gray or black dog puttering around a dark yard. This can be especially festive when it’s raining, snowing, cold, or your kerry is perfectly happy disappearing into the far edges of your property while you huddle in the doorway worrying about coyotes, holes in the fence, or what exactly your dog has found out there that is so interesting. One solution that has saved many a dog owner some prematurely grey hairs? A lighted collar.

“We have a small black dog and a big back yard,” says one dog owner met in the dark on a recent evening. “A lighted collar saves me from panicking if he decides to stay outside at night to sniff the wind longer than expected. When our adult children’s dogs spend the night, we put collars on them too, and it looks like a scene from Star Wars when the dogs play in the yard at night.”

A simple light hanging from the collar buckle seems to work just fine for smaller dogs and dogs that tend to stay close, according to an informal survey at the dog park. For a kerry, keep in mind if that it’s been while since the last trim, those curls may cover over a small light. A collar with lights running the full length of the collar might be the most helpful way to keep track of your furry friend’s whereabouts.

“The lighted collar works great,” says Kathy Miller, whose routine means that her Labrador retriever, Maggie, is often getting her last walk around the park at night. “We get the kind where the whole collar lights up, and that way we can see her even if she’s gone into the woods. Other people can see her too, which is helpful for night-time joggers and other dog walkers who might otherwise not know what was rustling and panting next to them along the path.”

Any number of styles of light-up collars are available, from the kind Miller uses, where the whole collar lights up thanks to an easily replaceable battery located within the collar itself, to small lights that clip on the to collar’s buckle.

They’re generally affordable, with most in the range of $10 to $20, though lifespan and reliability vary, as with many inexpensive household electronics.

Reliability for the lights and collars tends to vary, as with many lower-cost household electronics; make sure that when you buy a product, you get an extra charging cable or extra batteries, and make sure replacement batteries are easily available. And, recognize that plowing through brush, rolling on the ground, and exuberant ear-flapping are hard on electronic equipment, so lifespan for lights and collars may be a few months to a year. The good news is that generally affordable, with most in the range of $10 to $20, making the collars suitable for annual stocking-stuffers.

The collars are also good for figuring out who is whom and who is where, in the dark.

“I have collars in red, blue, pink and orange,” a local dogwalker declared proudly, escorting a throng of bouncing lights down the trail. “Blue looks good but isn't as bright as red or orange. Orange is probably the brightest I have seen. Green or yellow are easily spotted as well. The multiple colors are so I can keep track of different dogs at the same dark park or other night time activity.”

For extra visibility, there are also light-up leashes and harnesses, which can add several more feet of lighting – especially helpful if walking along a narrow path or other situation in which you’re likely to come in close contact with others, and you want’ them to see that you’re attached to your dog and want to avoid entanglement.

Of course – there’s always the no-tech solution of not walking your canine companion in the dark --- but a kerry is likely to have an opinion on missing out on the excitement of night-time excursions!

 

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