When dogs eat something inappropriate and end up with diarrhea, vets refer to it as "dietary indiscretion." I wonder if there is a similar term for dogs doing stupid stuff that lands them at the vet. If not, there should be.
Many readers know Toquima. He's a former foster who stays with us on occasion when his family goes out of town. This time they took him with them on a trip to New England. This morning I received this email and pictures:
Toquima, my brother Steve, and I were in a nature reserve in down east Maine, hiking along a bog bridge with the trail really overgrown on both sides. Toquima dove into the bushes at the end of the bridge. By the time I could pull him back, he had porcupine quills all around his mouth, in his mouth, on his snout, and even in a nostril. He was on a retractable leash, and I never even saw the porcupine.
The sight made me a little sick to my stomach, but he just looked at me like “what’s up with this?” I told him we had to walk quickly out, so he barely stopped for his usual sniffs, though every so often I had to stop him from pawing at his snout. We were about 1.5 miles from the car.
When we passed four people on the trail, Toquima went right over to give them his “don’t you want to pet me?” look. One said, “When my dog got quills, I just used pliers to pull them out. They have a natural antibiotic.” Yeah, right. Another said, “He is still wagging his tail!”
Steve kept him from pawing at his face while I drove, wondering what the heck to do. It was almost 4 :00 pm on Friday. But we ran across Machias Animal Hospital right on Route 1. We pulled in 15 minutes before they closed for the weekend. The southern-accented vet graciously agreed to take care of him, but he had to stay overnight because they needed to put him under to pull the quills. Toquima patiently awaited his turn while she finished with her scheduled patients...maybe it just did not hurt him that much? The vet said that some dogs find it so painful it drives them crazy.
The vet called at about 9:30 pm to say that everything was fine, and we should come to get him at 8:00 the next morning. He was groggy but fine the next morning, and we wonder if he even remembers getting quilled. Everybody said “They don’t learn.”
Other that this, I think he really enjoyed the trip to New England. He was ready for an 8-mile hike by Monday. I’m glad we don’t have porcupines in Virginia!