Last week my poor wonderful dog, Lucy got quilled for the second time.
The first time she was quilled she must have barely touched the porcupine as she only had eight quills in total- three in her nose (pictured above) and five in one of her front paws. The quills were not very deeply embedded so I like to believe that she was simply curious, went in for a tentative sniff and then quickly learned her lesson. She avoided the next porcupine we encountered on the side of the road a few months later so I naively assumed that she was safe from porcupine enounters.
Then last Tuesday evening when we were out for our evening walk, Lucy went leaping gracefully through some tall grass as she so often does. On her third landing she suddenly started yelping and running out of the grass. I thought that perhaps a coyote had nipped her and was chasing her (we run into them often but the encounters are never threatening) so I went running towards Lucy with my hiking poles ready to defend her. As Lucy came running towards me I saw that she was holding her body posture very awkwardly and that the entire inner parts of her front legs and her chest were covered in porcupine quills! It was quite gruesome and she seemed to have morphed into some kind of spiky X-men character. She must not have smelled the porcupine in the tall grass. Perhaps the wind was blowing away from her… And judging by the location of the quills, she must have landed right smack on top of the prickly animal. Lucy looked confused and in pain as she limped toward me. Lucky we were not far from home and we slowly made our way back to the cabin.
As we walked home I was wondering if I would be able to take out the quills myself. Last time Lucy was quilled, she was very jumpy and it took me almost two hours to trick her into letting me get close enough to pull the quills out. I was amazed and so proud of Lucy when this time around when she came right over to me and let me snip the tips off of the quills with a pair of scissors. Then she stood very still (she was actually trembling and probably in shock) while held her with one arm and quickly plucked out all of the quills from one of her legs with needle nose pliers. I gave her a few minutes to rest and walk around, then I called her again and did the other leg. After another short break I pulled the quills from her chest area and after a thorough body search found a few quills on the inside of her back legs.
Unfortunately I did not take a picture of her before pulling the quills out. It did not even enter my mind this time around. As soon as I saw Lucy’s quills my only thought was to get them out as quickly as possible. In total I pulled out 141 quills and found 2 more the following day. Since then, Lucy has been more careful on our walks and keeps to the wide path a lot more and she completely avoids the patch of tall grass where she encountered the porcupine!
I’m happy to say that Lucy is doing great! She was tender for a few days but there were no signs of infection and she recovered very quickly. She’s even started leaping again… but she has been keeping to the path where the grass is much shorter!