It’s 1979, and this pilot fish is a Fortran programmer at a company that rents space in a warehouse. Walk in the door, and you’re in a large room filled with PDP-11 computers, surrounded by smaller rooms used as offices.

One day through that door walks a woman come to visit her programmer husband, along with their large dog — which immediately runs into one of the offices and hides under a desk, its front paws over its head.

No enticement will get the dog out of that office, or even out of its defensive posture.

Then a hardware engineer realizes: Those PDP-11s all have switching-type power supplies, which run at frequencies too high for humans to hear, but to dogs they’re probably the equivalent of several thousand ultrasonic dog whistles blowing continuously. Now everyone sees why the dog is being so stubborn and understands that forcing it into that room full of PDP-11s would actually be cruel.

But they can’t leave the dog where it is, and it’s suffering. Management isn’t thrilled with the idea of losing a day’s productivity by having everyone log off so that the computers can be shut down for five minutes. But the alternative — cutting a dog-size opening through the outside wall of the office, a wall covered with decorative metal siding — is sure to anger the landlord. So they grudgingly give the OK to proceed with the shutdown.

Which transforms the dog into a happy creature who trots out to the parking lot — never to be seen in that office again.

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