Monday, May 24, 2010

A face full of porcupine quills

The dogs bolted while I blinked. They were gone for a couple of days. The unspoken rule in the country is that if you're confronted with a stray dog, it's your obligation to shoot it. Packing feral dogs are not what anyone wants. Except on the Native reserve, but that's another story all together. They are really dangerous.

Rosie will tease Tom into a grand tour of the neighbourhood at the slightest provocation. A rustling in the grass, a passing deer or just a fine morning will do. I would sure love to have some device to measure how far they travel when they go, because Rosie loses a lot of weight in the short time she's gone. Tom showed up unscathed after a couple of nights away and Rosie was a dozen hours behind him. She arrived home looking like a bag of bones.

Two and a half years ago they both got into a porcupine and although Tom got away with relatively minor damage, Rosie would have died without help from a vet. She was going to teach that porcupine a lesson and no doubt the animal would have been lucky to survive. However Rosie was a mess, inside her mouth and out. I don't have any images of the incident because they went directly to the vet, didn't pass go, and the vet was the only one collecting hundreds of dollars.

So it seemed unreasonable to make a special long weekend trip to the vet for such a minor infraction this time. I decided I would pull out what was easily accessible and managed to get a dozen quills pulled before I feared I was about to be bit by a famous cantilevered jaw full of carnivore teeth.

Fortunately I have dog and horse friends capable and willing to exercise a dominant position in such cases. We strapped Rosie's muzzle shut and my good friend Ray wrapped himself around her from behind and I leaned into her head with her to my left and started yanking. It was all over in about 20 seconds. The dog seemed to know it was the time and place where pain was inevitable. There was no fight in her at all. She's followed me around like... well, like a puppy dog ever since. I like to believe I'm being thanked, even through the blood and pain.

I had been counselled by amateurs to "cut the end of the quills before pulling them". For the life of me I don't see how this is of any use, unless of course the quill is projecting through the other side of some skin. Regardless, they are very nasty bits of technology those quills. Maybe we can get away with no skunk spray this year?



  1. This makes me sad. I had the unfortunate adventure to get 60 quills in my foot. And I have the fortunate adventure to have a dog that looks just like this.

  2. The quills are like fish hooks. . . Barbed on the end. Extremely painful if pulled out.