It is entirely my fault the encounter ended so badly. On the way down that road the dogs all reacted to something along the side of the trail. The road we were on has a lot of deer and moose traffic crossing it, I assumed that was what they had seen and glanced into the woods/field beyond, but didn't see anything. I should have paid better attention.
I am fairly certain that the team knew EXACTLY what was there and where it was on the way home. Boo, who was in lead with Missy, was a leader involved in a porcupine incident we had almost 2 years ago - and it seems that once a dog has had an encounter, they are VERY keen to give it another go. (And NO, I have NO CLUE why that is.)
It was over pretty quick for the porkie (and honestly, before I even knew what was happening) - but dead porcupines are just as big a problem as live ones are - more so actually, I believe, as they can't help get away.
Six dogs got some quills in them - Missy, Boo, Kelly, Billie, Skecher and Mighty - with Boo, Kelly and Missy in the worst shape.
There was no way those three, who had a lot of quills in their feet, were going to be able to run the 10 miles home. I secured the front end of my team to a fence post and began sorting out an 'emergency evacuation' plan.
I had a friend helping out at the kennel yesterday but since we don't have a cell phone signal at the house, I was unable to reach her. I sent a few FB messages, but she was walking Fletch and didn't get them. I also figured she was unlikely to answer the house phone, even if she did hear it.
Thankfully, I was able to reach my neighbour Gabi and she was quick to agree to run over to the house to get Keri and the dog truck over to me!
The three of us loaded dogs, threw the ganglines in the truck and stashed the ATV in the bushes before Keri and I headed into Westlock.
I had phoned the Vet Clinic while I was waiting for 'rescue' to give them a 'heads up' that we would be in in 'a bit' - and phoned again on the way in to give them a better idea of our ETA.
The dog truck was low on fuel after sitting for most of the summer, so we had to swing to the gas station on the way. It is a 'full service' station so I quickly chatted with the gas attendant as I was getting out of the cab to head in for coffee and to pay. As he opened the rear tank of the truck he asked about dogs and commented on how beautiful they where. I thanked him and commented that we were on our way to the Vet Clinic after a bad run in with a porcupine. He mustn't have heard or understood me and while the truck was sucking away at my bank account, he took time visit each of the dogs through their doors. All the quilled dogs were on the passenger side and after visiting with that side, he approached Keri who was sitting in the truck with the window down and asked "What's the point of all the needles in their faces?"
Ummmm........yeah........good question.....what is the POINT???
Keri explained their were porcupine quills and we were on the way to the vet to get them removed.
The vet techs who, who have seen me all too much in the last 3 weeks, shook their heads sympathetically as we walked in. We pulled files on the three girls and I signed off on all the anesthetic forms and we started weighing and prepping dogs for surgery.
In case I haven't said it enough - let me say again I LOVE MY VETS AND MY VET CLINIC (http://www.westlockvetcenter.ca/). They are compassionate, professional and practical. I trust them implicitly and am so grateful to have them 'on my side'.
|Removing quills from Kelly's mouth|
|Kelly with the pink bandage (they had to slice into her leg to get a few buried quills), Skecher on the table, Boo on her feet, Missy and Billie just starting to wake up.|
Everyone is back home and looking good. Likely due to the pain meds they were on, they were in great spirits last night and keen to tell their stories to all the other dogs.
We will have to keep them a bit on the quiet side today, as quills that they ingested will be migrating through their stomach and intestines. Porcupine quills can only 'move forward' so some will likely migrate out of odd spots on the dogs in the next while. We will be keeping an eye on everyone with lots of 'hands on' going overs!
Two years ago when we had a run-in with another porcupine (that one lived and only Rocket had to go to the vet) I posted a recipe for Sweet and Sour Porcupine - hoping it would 'catch on' and decrease the Porcupine population. It didn't seem to work, so today I present PORCUPINE STEW!!
Get out and give it a try - TODAY - PLEASE!!!!
(I wonder if I can sell McDonalds on the concept of a McPorkie burger??)