Category Archive 'Porcupine'

03 Mar 2018

Deserving Porcupine Shot

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Yesterday was one of those days.

We woke up to a chilly house. The winds roaring like a freight train overnight knocked the power out. Happily, though, we are in Pennsylvania and the lights (and the furnace) were back on at 9:00 A.M.

When our seven-month-old-but-monstrously-huge Taigan puppy came back from his first morning outing, he had something sticking out of his nose. Short little spikes? Some kind of burrs? Karen brought me some needle-nose pliers and held him, and I reached out and extracted three in one swipe. The puppy yipped.

On close examination, the little spikes proved to be tiny porcupine quills. It seemed strange that he had only three, right in the nose, and they were all short and about an inch long. Did he meet a baby porcupine? we wondered. Or did he just reach out and sniff one’s head?

But it was not to be quite so simple. A bit later, I saw in his profile view one more quill, bent against his nose.

Efforts to restrain this 75-pound seven-month Central Asian puppy failed. We could not hold him and keep his head still. He had to go to the Vet and be sedated, for one tiny quill.

Well, this morning the dogs were barking about something, when I got up. I looked out the back door and there was a full-sized adult porcupine sitting high in a tree about 50 yards or so from the back door.

I had Karen bring me a Winchester Model 1892 .25-20 Saddle-Ring Carbine (made in 1915) that I acquired in a recent auction and a box of cartridges. The trick would be figuring out where exactly you had to hold.

I fired a shot, which I thought went high. My second shot, held lower, seemed possibly to have struck. The porcupine seemed perturbed. Karen wanted to try her hand. She took aim and definitely hit him. The porcupine began trying to descend. I tried another shot, aiming distinctly below the varmint’s body, and that one really had an impact. The porcupine was hard hit and its paw was shaking in distress. I fired one more time and this last one knocked him right out of the tree.

The .25-20 is clearly an anemic round, not a lot more powerful than a .22 Long Rifle, but it is a good round for this kind of thing. It makes little noise and it took the porcupine a long time to figure out he was being shot at. Long enough for Karen and me to figure out the sights on an unfamiliar new gun.

So perish all our enemies!

(Porcupines are kind of cute but the injuries they can inflict on a dog are horrific. That last one quill yesterday also cost a hundred fifty bucks for veterinary services.)

07 Nov 2014

Lions Against Porcupine

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17 lions (13 females and 4 males) versus one porcupine. Guess who wins?

Londolozi blog story

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

20 Sep 2013


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Our dogs had fewer quills above the nose, but more overall.

Our dogs get an outdoors “last call” every evening just before we retire for the night. Last night, shortly after they went out, cries of pain erupted from out of doors. Karen hurried to retrieve the dogs who were found both engaged in close combat with a particularly large, fat porcupine.

The dogs arrived back indoors with mouths and noses loaded with quills. The tazy had a load in his upper mouth and was particularly in pain. The basset hound, despite all the quills, was reluctant to give up the chase and came in grudgingly. Even his chest was loaded with quills.

We are, by no means, unpacked and well organized here at the Pennsylvania farm we have not visited for over a decade. Fortunately, Karen managed to come up with a pair of needle-nosed pliers. We were then handicapped by Presbyopia and limited lighting on the stairs, where we tried pinning down our first victim. It was a struggle de-quilling the basset hound. The most painful quills to remove were those in the mouth and nose, and Cadet put up a surprisingly effective resistance (for a French dog). Finally, we got down to one deeply buried small quill in the lower jaw (which it was impossible to grip) and gave up and turned to work on the tazy.

Poor Uhlan had been up dancing on our bed, bleeding and drooling, and driving in his quills deeper. The struggle was fiercer with Uhlan. There were only two of us, and there was one of him. Moreover, Cadet started returning to his rescue, barking at us for hurting his brother, and intruding into the growing pile of pulled quills littering the stairs. There I was, on the middle landing, trying to pin the tazy’s body against the stone wall with mine, using my hands to try hold his head still, as Karen worked on capturing the quills. There were blood and quills everywhere. He was relatively cooperative about letting us take the quills out of his upper mouth. But when we got down to the last half dozen or so quills, largely concentrated in his nose and lips, he just went wild, shaking his head furiously, squirming out of my wrestling holds, and not in the least cooperating. Cadet also continued to interfere. Uhlan proved to be just too strong for us and, eventually, dogs and humans were all exhausted.

Miraculously though, when Karen began to try calling 24-hour veterinary services, one, just a few miles away in Warriors Mark, quickly returned her call. What do you know? You can get hold of a vet at 11:30 at night in Central Pennsylvania. Uhlan is still unused to cars, so Karen sat holding him in the back seat of the BMW, but Cadet is a veteran automobile traveler and actually has been hankering recently for more rides in the car. Warriors Mark is less than 10 miles away, just over the Bald Eagle Ridge in Sinking Valley.

The vet gave Uhlan good drugs, a sleeping potion followed by a pain-killing opiate. He sank slowly in the West, as the vet tried unsuccessfully to get that last under-the-chin quill out of poor Cadet. It is going to have to work its way out over time. Meanwhile, Cadet will be taking antiseptic medication. Uhlan resisted the drugs, but the second dose did for him. His eyes rolled white, his tongue hung limp, and he lolled there unresisting as the vet (a Polish lady from the same Eastern Pennsylvania Coal Region as myself with a degree from Michigan State) plucked out the remaining quills with a hemostat. Like Cadet, Uhlan had driven one small quill in so deep that it could not be grasped, and he, too, will have to let it work itself out. The vet then gave Uhlan another shot which turned off his sleeping potion, and in just a few minutes he woke back up.

It was a late and gruelling evening for everyone. Karen heroically policed up fallen porcupine quills before letting the dogs ascend the stairs to bed. She even cleaned up most of the blood. We found, when we finally arrived upstairs, that Uhlan had managed to cover Karen’s pillow with drool and blood, while we were working on Cadet.

There was a certain amount of nocturnal wimpering coming out of the dog kennels in the bedroom during the night, and Cadet woke up eventually demanding an outdoor lavatory break, but things were more peaceable over night on the whole than one might have expected. By morning, the dogs actually seemed no worse for wear, though when they came back from their morning run, both dogs took their customary milk bone dog biscuit from my hand very slowly and very carefully. Sore mouths.

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