When I first got Victor, he had a bad habit of bolting out the door. This crazy terrier had three previous homes and behaviour issues stemming from a lack of exercise. So, he took every opportunity to run.
It was a dark night and I opened the back door to let him pee before bedtime. Sure enough, before I could grab the tether clip, he bolted into the night and down the street – a quiet rural road. Again.
I was tired and instead of yelling and running myself, I took my time, put on coat and boots over my pajamas and headed out. When I opened the front door, there he was – being chased by two 20-something guys in baseball hats. Victor flew into the house the moment the door opened.
“Oh, is that your dog?” they asked. “We saw him on the road.”
“Thanks,” I said and shut the door.
It wasn’t until the morning that I saw it: the truck skid marks on the road going up and over the grass in a distinctive swerving arch. I realized then how close I came to losing my all black crazy mutt in the darkness of night.
Fast-forward four years and Victor is older, thoroughly exercised and significantly (though not entirely) better controlled. The bolting has stopped.
But he’s still black, and we still live in the darkness of a quasi-rural town.
So, I’ve tried to make him ‘glow in the dark’ a few different ways:
- Small battery-powered plastic discs attached to his collar – these fell off along our walk on the second or third usage.
- A Silidog Tag that glows in the dark – the Silidog Tag (recently seen on T.V.’s Shark Tank) only glows in complete darkness, so it’s not really working as a reflector at night. It is, however, an excellent dog tag. Made of silicone, it doesn’t ding ding, which was driving me crazy, and the name, address and telephones numbers (all fit on the tag, both sides) don’t wear off. I love this tag for those reasons.
- Corky’s Reflective Wear Overcollar™ – So far, this product had been most successful for nighttime walks.
Here’s why Corky’s Reflective Wear works for me:
I was given this product in exchange for an honest review after meeting co-owner Steven Triedman at SuperZoo in Las Vegas last August. I approached him because the products looked innovated and functional. I wasn’t wrong.
The Doggone Red Overcollar™ I received is easy to slip on and off, fits over the existing collar, and has a slit that easily lets the collar’s D-ring slid through so I can clip on a leash. If I use a harness or a winter coat, the Overcollar doesn’t interfere.
Other colours available: Healer Blue, Hunter Green, Lab Black, Precious Pink and Oh My Orange. Pick one that contrasts with your dog’s fur.
What makes the collar work is a 3M Scotchlite™ grey strip that reflects light up to 1000 feet (30.5 metres), according to the company. It’s also waterproof, made from a soft fleece-like fabric, and is machine washable. That last one’s important to me – my dog runs, digs, slides through sewer tunnels (yup), and generally gets dirty easily.
Does it reflect light?
I’ll admit, because we live in such a quiet area I had to ‘test walk’ the product three times before a car with headlights actually passed us on the road (which is why the truck incident was such a surprise).
Light from car headlights reflected like a sudden flash, as though the collar was bursting or a bulb surged. This happened when we walk almost under streetlights too. Of course, I’m unable to measure exactly how many feet (or metres) away this could be seen, but it was dramatic and attention getting.
I’d prefer a vest for fall weather, though because it provides an extra strip of reflection and more visibility, especially on a black dog. Yet, the collar version is good for the winter when I have cold-sensitive Victor bundled up.
As for the guys who near-missed Victor, I never saw them again. It took months for the tire grooves in the grass near our house to fill in, which was constant reminder how much can happen in so few seconds.