It was not a good day for Dough-Gee Dog.
Now D.O.G (slow pronunciation Dee-Oh-Gee, fast pronunciation Dough-Gee) only knows two tricks. That is all I’ve taught him.
What he knows is “No Bites” and “Come here”. Seemed to me like the most important things for him to know being that he is a cross between a Bassett and a Rottweiler. With a monstrous Rottweiler head and jaws attached to a less impressive Bassett body with short crooked legs.
Today’s unfortunate accident occurred when D.O.G. was out for a walk with Hub. That incredible hound-scenting-ability told him an interesting critter was harboured in a large brush pile. Hub had seen the creature there a few days before so he knew what it was. A porcupine, no less.
So frantically he called D.O.G. to ‘Come away’ but for D.O.G., the beast within was too excited to respond. The command was ignored.
Then a blood curdling D.O.G. wail and next thing we knew here’s D.O.G. coming across the meadow with a brush of porcupine quills in his nose. We were a distance from the house so D.O.G. pushed and scrunched his nose in the hard dirt to try to rid himself of all those painful thorns to no avail. Then quickly he sped home.
He came immediately to Hub and I for assistance. It is spring, all farm animals are birthing, so the vet was out on call. Evidently this was a job Hub and I would have to do on our own. So Hub got a pair of pliers and we quickly wrapped D.O.G. tightly in a blanket so we could keep him laid out on the ground. Then I held D.O.G.’s body still while Hub extracted those quills from inside and outside that dog’s mouth with pliers and his bare hands.
How trusting that dog. He at no time tried to bite Hub although I can’t imagine how painful that operation must have been. Hub removed at least twenty quills. As many well back inside his mouth as there were on the outside. I thought D.O.G. would pass out or go into shock. I wanted him to, just to relieve his agony somewhat. But it didn’t happen.
We turned him loose within perhaps 15 minutes. I thought he would make a run for it. But he didn’t. I brought him a pail of ice water to drink. He rested and as we walked about him, Hub still carrying pliers, he made no evasive moves.
He relaxed for about an hour, but we still weren’t done. There was six or eight quills still remaining. Again we wrapped him in the blanket and removed the rest. By then I was so stressed my hands and body were quivering. Finally we were done. Poor puppy. So much pain, so much discomfort.
I went to the house to wash my hands. To breath a sigh of relief. To calm my anxiety. And then looked out the window.
There was Hub lying on the lawn beside his Dough-Gee Dog, rubbing his ears, scratching his stomach and telling him what a brave and good dog he was. Dough-Gee looked happy and at ease.
Now Hub is talking about getting his gun and going porcupine hunting. “No,” I say. “Please don’t. Porcupines are cute in their own way. And they only reproduce one babe every two years. Far too many are killed on highways. And they have such cute little paws. D.O.G. knows better now. He won’t be doing that again.”
“But dogs don’t know better. They get nasty scratches from cats and still won’t leave them alone and porcupine encounters are no different.”
“But D.O.G. is different,” I say. “Dogs can learn up to 35 commands according to the experts. Dog only knows two. I capped his lessons at number two so there would be no confusion. So ‘avoiding porcupines is only 3 out of 35 so we should be okay.”
“Don’t count on it,” Hub says. He forgot the business of ‘come here’ when he first discovered that porcupine in the brush pile. So he may well forget lesson number 3 to leave porcupines alone.”
Hub makes a good point but still the porcupine is not and will not be harmed for now. God, I hope I’m right. Dog doesn’t need another day like today -- and neither do I.