Of Ducks and Dogs
Jul 1, 2002 12:00 PM, By Steve Filippini
WORKING ON RESIDENTIAL alarm systems means dealing with the customer on their turf. It also means dealing with their pets, and let's face it, dogs are always a headache to work around. Even friendly dogs are prone to getting in the way, chewing through important wires and distracting the dog lovers among us. Give me a cat any day: One loud noise and you won't see them for the rest of your stay.
Ducky, my partner in crime for many years, and I were at a residence one day installing an alarm system for some Vietnamese homeowners. The family had just bought a local market to run as a family business, which meant they weren't going to be spending much time at home. They were new to the area and already had very little time to spend with us. We asked them a series of questions in an attempt to determine the level of security they were expecting, but they had no idea what we were saying to them. I contacted the sales person who sold them the system and asked her for some guidance. We were told that the customer was given a promise the job would be finished by Wednesday. I looked at my watch. It was Tuesday. I asked the sales rep how she was able to communicate with them because we were having a lot of difficulty. She said they did a lot of pointing and head nodding.
As we were walking through the home with the owners, nodding and pointing away, we were introduced to Cookie, their Chihuahua. Cookie, like all dogs who resemble rats, yipped, yapped and barked at us from the moment that we arrived at the house to the moment that we left.
Ducky, who had a nervousness about him that women found charming, took an immediate dislike to Cookie. Cookie, who also had a constant nervous twitch, greeted Ducky by running up to him and sinking his teeth into Ducky's ankle. Ducky danced on one foot and tried to punt Cookie away without offending the homeowners. Cookies owners ran after Ducky yelling, “Bad Cookie.” I don't think Cookie understood them either. We requested Cookie be tied down or locked up (or we would have him put down, their decision), but the homeowners would not dream of doing that to their Cookie. We were forced to deal with Cookie our own way.
On Wednesday morning, Cookie greeted us by starting up with his yapping and snarling. We tried to ignore Cookie but after an hour with no break from Cookie's barking and no end in sight, we found we couldn't take it anymore. Because the homeowners were down at the store, we took matters into our own hands. Ducky and I taped Cookie's mouth shut with electrical tape and locked him in his kennel until we were done. Cookie growled and whined the whole time he was in the kennel, but we didn't care. We finished the job late in the afternoon, got the proper signatures and left.
During the drive back to the office, I asked Ducky how Cookie reacted to having the tape removed from his mouth. Knowing Ducky, he pulled it off slowly and not very smoothly. Ducky didn't answer me. He just sat there and stared at me for a moment. That's when I realized he thought I was going to remove the tape. We were going to be in serious trouble when we got back, so we drove in to the office a little slower than normal. But we never did hear anything from the customer. For all we know, they, too, preferred Cookie like that.
Steve Filippini is a regular columnist S&VC and a senior security technician with more than 20 years of experience in the security installation industry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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