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Poking dogs

To the editor:

This letter is in regards to an article that appeared on the outdoors page of the Gazette on Friday, Oct. 23, written by Mr. Jim Junttila. Mr. Junttila talks about grouse and woodcock hunting with dogs and what to do should you encounter a porcupine. I have to take exception to the tips he provided from a book written by a Tim “Professor Partridge” Flanigan. He stated porkies should be avoided at all costs, especially if you take the dog to the vet. He said the first inclination when your dog gets quilled is to head to a veterinarian. “Wrong move.” It is stated that the dog is in mortal pain every second until you get there and then it is a very expensive call. What you should do instead is use your weatherman tool. Hold the dog on the ground and pluck out each quill right then. The dog can “take it” and will be forever grateful.

First off, to say the dog can take it and be forever grateful is absurd. The dog in the picture had at least 200 quills. It was hard to tell from the pic if the quills are inside the mouth. A quill to a dog is equal to the baked end of a fishhook in your skin. Can you imagine someone pulling 200 fishhooks out of your skin while someone sits on your stomach, holding you down?

Secondly, it is time consuming to extract that many quills. Quills get between teeth, toes, and into the throat. If each and every one is not excised or is broken off, they migrate to other parts of the body. And that leads to other issues down the line.

Yes we have had several dogs get into porkies more than once. And yes, it is an expensive surgery. But that goes along with pet ownership. Never would I have one of my dogs endure the extraction of 200 or more quills while someone sits on them.

Having pets in one’s life means accepting responsibility both emotionally and financially for that pet. I hope no one out there that read that article will follow those tips thinking they are doing their dog any favors and saving themselves money too boot.

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