Metal Detecting With Massi
I hope all of you, my Spinone friends are healthy, safe, and making it through coronavirus times. I wrote this to help brighten your day as you read about our Spinone helping me hunt for treasure.
At the end of this past April, social distancing became the rule in New Jersey. Our Governor working to slow the spread of coronavirus ordered all but essential employees to stay home. One exception was Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) that remained open to residents to walk and train dogs. Since WMAs were open I could pretty much follow my normal routine with our Spins and do training. On our way home make a stop at work, then work on projects around our very old house. I continued on projects until my parts and materials ran out. As days became weeks the slowness of things in our community was boring. I decided it was a good time to pull out my metal detector and search our yard for buried treasures. Since the back yard is fenced, I could do something I wanted to do for a long time; metal detect with our Spinoni.
Checking our yard for treasure is something I never got around to doing. But now while on stay at home orders, or better put, no social contact, it was a perfect time to metal detect with our Spins. Metal detecting is slow requiring a person to listen for different tones and watch numbers defining what is buried in the ground. Detecting doesn’t leave much room to pay attention to canine partners. But since our back yard is all about dogs and fenced, it is a wonderful place to detect with our pack. I am pretty good with the detector and enjoy spending time with the dogs. But I had no idea what would happen when a Spin was added to metal detecting.
Our yard isn’t big and would take about 4 hours to scan both the front and back sections. I planned on doing the front one afternoon and the fenced in back another day. Working the front I found some really old and nice metal targets. I found jewelry, an Indianhead penny, some 1800 era shotgun shells, and a very old horseshoe. I stopped the hunt 15 feet from the road to stay away from car traffic and maintain social distance from others.
The next day I resumed detecting in the back with our dogs. This is where I would see how they react to the equipment and slow pace of metal detecting; all in a contained area. I set up the equipment and my wife Deb let our 3 Spins into their yard. I started my search around the porch where there is a lot of foot traffic. More people in an area usually means more lost items like coins. All three of our Spinoni were excited and wanted to be a part of this new event. They were interested in, sniffed and touched the detector, shovel, pouch, and ear phones like something new in their toy basket. I kept searching the ground as the three Spins sniffed and touched the equipment. Pretty soon Bea and Bert got bored and started looking for their own treasures while Massi stayed with me. After watching for a short while she started to help. She liked the equipment and patted the detector coil with her paw as it swept back and forth in front of her. Pretty soon the detector sounded giving numbers that told me we have located a target made of silver and it was time to dig.
As my shovel went into the ground Massi started digging too. She is a good digger and we have plenty of holes in our yard from her daily mole hunts. Soon we had the target out of the hole and she kept digging as I worked the loose sand with a pinpointer until finding an old dime. I stopped Massi from digging, filled in the hole, and went back to sweeping the detector. Massi followed for a while then went back to where we found the dime and dug in the loose sand. She helped me dig each time the detector identified another target. Working about half the yard we found several coins and some junk. Then as we got close to our dog training area we found several pennies. The closer we got to the training table the more we found. When we were next to the table the detector went to overload on multiple targets. I started digging expecting to find a bunch of galvanized nails or old tools. I didn’t remember losing anything but the detector showed a lot of metal, time to dig. Just like hunting birds with a dog where we trust their nose, in detecting we trust the equipment and dig everything. With Massi’s help, we dug up a penny. Then without moving another at a lower depth. For the next hour, we stayed in a 3.5 by 3.5-foot area digging $2.91 in coins mostly around our training table. Each time we would dig a coin the detector sounded with another and Massi helped dig. But metal detecting with a dog has its challenges. When they are close to the coil metal parts of their collar set off the machine. They re-dig filled in holes and spread the coins we just found when they decide it is time to play. At sundown we filled in the holes, put away equipment intending to come back, and finish the next day.
Day 2 with Massi was different and she wasn’t much help. She was bored with detecting and decided to wrestle with Bert. I started working and in a couple of hours finished the area finding another $.96. I took a picture of Massi with our treasure and the equipment, then filled in the holes and moved on. I kept thinking of finding all those coins around the training table. As we dug them, pieces of our original pool blanket kept coming out of the ground. Finding the pool blanket was strange because it was disposed of 35 years ago. Checking the dates on the coins most were from the early 1970s. I decided to call my son and see if he remembered burying a pirate treasure as a child. He did and most likely covered the coins with a piece of old pool blanket. When I built the training table I spread his “treasure” when grading the yard with a tractor.
This Christmas my son is going to get his “pirate treasure” back as a gift from Massi, found while metal detecting and on stay at home orders due to the coronavirus.