Daily Archives: May 16, 2011

Why have I added an Eveready waterproof flashlight to my travel bag?

Eveready is selling a waterproof flashlight that is only five bucks and uses two AA batteries.  I added this flashlight to my standard travel bag around town in Thailand for several reasons.  A flashlight is always handy but a waterproof flashlight is especially well adapted to a tropical country with a great deal of rainfall and the giant water fight called Songkran that happens once a year in Thailand!  The flashlight uses AA batteries not D batteries like most flashlights.  This means the flashlight can act as a waterproof container for AA batteries which my digital camera also uses!

Since I started carrying my flashlight, I have discovered that if you shine the light of a flashlight into the eyes of a barking wild dog at night then the dog generally goes away!  I had read that lights scare away wild animals in general and coyotes specifically and wondered if the same technique would work on wild dogs and I have tested the technique on about a dozen dogs so far with great success.  I have also found that the way you can make sure you are getting the dog straight in the eyes is to get their eyes to glow in the dark with your flashlight.  This action works from at least 50 feet and beyond!  This means I can start to shoo the dog away from quite a distance.

The whole problem of being barked at by wild dogs is bigger for Westeners than Thais since the dogs do tend to bark more at Westerners than Thais.  I think we just have a different smell than Thais due to diet and the dogs aren’t sure what we are.  However, Thais are not totally immune from the actions of wild dogs and Thais do get bit now and then.  The big problem is not the bite, which is usually minor, but the rabies shots that you should take and are not fun at all according to Westerners I have known who have been bitten.

The only drawback of the AA flashlight is that the flashlight is very light, much lighter than your typical D battery flashlight,  and therefore useless as a club against the insane wild dog I am sure to eventually run into that ignores the light in their eyes but that is why I always carry an umbrella.

Thais are good Buddhists and never actually kill wild dogs no matter how insane they might be but the security guards will get a nice long bamboo stick and chase away especially insane wild dogs from the piece of real estate that they are charged with guarding.  This is sometimes done while the security guard is on a scooter and the technique seems to work since a dog once shooed away in this manner stays away!  This means that most insane wild dogs in Thailand do know what sort of damage a human can do with a stick and just raising your umbrella over your head scares them!  I do not think dogs are smart enough to figure out that an umbrella is nowhere near as heavy and durable as a long length of bamboo so for this reason the bluff seems to generally work.  A long but relatively weak umbrella probably does a better job of scaring a dog than a shorter but more deadly D battery flashlight.

I am interested in scaring the dogs away rather than engaging in actual gladiatorial combat so the umbrella technique works just fine for me.  All in all wild Thai dogs are more bark than bite but better safe than sorry.  If you do see a wild dog that is acting aggresively do not run!  Dogs like most predators have a chase reflex and running makes them more aggresive not less aggresive.  Also, they have four legs to your two  and the chances of out running a dog are slim.  I have found standing your ground generally works.  Do not charge the dog but do not run away from the dog.  Use the flashlight and/or umbrella to scare them away.  Even a wild dog is a product of tens of thousands of years of domestication and you can use simple psychology on them.  Dogs are not coyotes and I think it’s just a lot easier to scare them away than truly wild animals.

There is actually very little on the internet about defense against wild dogs and I am starting to feel like a bit of an expert due to my almost daily experience dealing with this problem.  Some sites suggest using a stun baton or better yet firearms!  Oh yeah!  Lets shoot the dog!  Come on!  I like dogs and don’t want to shoot them.  I just want to scare them away!  Dogs aren’t evil. The dogs are just doing what comes naturally to them and as an intelligent, hopefully, human I should try to out smart the dogs rather than hurt the dogs.

Heck, I try to be a good Buddhist and, like many Thais, will endevour to catch an insect in my apartment and release the insect outdoors and I like dogs about a 100 times more than bugs!  Oh, this catch and release system does not apply to mosquitoes and ants!  Any mosquitoes and ants found in my living space are doomed.  Interestingly enough I will go out of my way to catch and release spiders since I find spiders beautiful in their own way.  Gekkos get a free pass all the way!  Gekkos can have the run of the apartment no problem!  I have absolutely no fear of snakes and would only worry about getting a poisonous bite but otherwise would try to catch and release a snake if one decided to visit me.

WereVerse Universe Baby!