This spring, a chocolate Labrador named Scout helped Consumers Energy fix a broken pole by carrying string across a Michigan pond.

dogpoleIt all started when an engineering employee was called to figure out a way to replace a broken pole in the middle of a swamp. Since the broken pole was surrounded by water and not accessible by bucket truck or a flex track tank-like vehicle, the decision was made to install two new poles on either side of the swamp.

Since the existing conductor could not be safely untied from the broken pole, we needed to install new conductors across the pond. The question was how? At first, we thought about having a person walk around the perimeter of the pond with a pulling rope.

However, trees, cattails, and water blocked all our routes. Next, we thought about using a bow and arrow to shoot a string across the pond and then use the string to pull a heavier rope back across the pond. We nixed this idea because the bow and arrow would violate the company’s weapons policy.

  • Enter Scout, a 4-year old Labrador owned by Brian, an engineering technician with Consumers Energy. Brian lived close to the area and went home to get his dog Scout. Brian returned and tied a string to Scout’s collar and had him sit at one end of the pond. Brian then walked to the other end of the pond and, on his command, told Scout to come.
  • Scout being a typical Labrador retriever gladly jumped in the stinky pond and began swimming. It only took Scout about 30 seconds to swim across the pond and cross over all the cattails. Scout happily came to the other side where Brian was waiting with some dog treats.

The next day, Good Friday, West Kent electric line crews used the string to pull a larger rope back across the pond and then used the rope to pull the new conductors across the pond.

Once the new conductors were installed on the new poles, a brief outage was taken to cut down the old conductors attached to the broken pole and splice the new conductors to the source and load.

Thanks, Scout – for helping us deliver the energy our customers need, whenever they need it.