I live in a rural area (near a city). This is a blessing to us in many ways. We enjoy the space and peace of nature while living near any convenience we could ask for. Our property connects to an extensive trail network that allows us to run in a state park without ever touching road.
Because of this, we rarely bring a leash for our poodle Cooper anymore. He runs the woods, chasing turkey, squirrels and deer, usually sticking very close to us.
The flaw in this, is that he is an incredibly social animal. He can’t understand why a dog, or horse, or field mouse wouldn’t want to play with him. Today it caught up to him.
My husband was out running with him when he heard him yelp in the woods not far from the trail. Cooper had encountered porcupines before, but we had spotted them first and verbally commanded him away. Hubby didn’t see this porcupine but Cooper came out with a face full of evidence.
I apologize for the poor quality of these pictures, I wanted to get a few quick shots before we started the long (and difficult) process of pulling the quills out one by one. I wasn’t going to take the time or effort to compose a shot, not when my pup was uncomfortable.
We were lucky, he only had about 40 quills in his nose, lip and under his chin. Had he gotten a hundred, or gotten some in his mouth, we would have had to bring him to the vet. They would have put him under for quill removal and followed up with precautionary antibiotics. My checkbook would have shed a tear or two.
Instead we worked together. I held Cooper down, while my husband pulled the quills out one by one with pliers. Cooper got bits of cheese ever few quills. Pups are so easy to bribe. The ones under his chin were the worst. He cried and fought us, so we had to take breaks more often. During every break, he would perform all kinds of calming signals. He would shake off, lick his lips, lift his paws. I think he was trying to get us to chill out with the torture.
I think he must have been sniffing the porcupine when he got hit with the tail. Of course, he probably didn’t even remember the incident thanks to a 45 minute run home.
As for Coop, he seems to be back to himself. I’m sure he wont learn his lesson the first time though. That weird spiky dog just needs some extra work to become his friend.