The week before the 4th of July, Mom & me were camping with Mom’s family at South Pike Bay in Minnesota. Once a year, for over six decades, family members excitedly looked forward to camping at this small primitive campground. This deeply entrenched event lives in the hearts of Mom’s family; therefore, I feel it fitting and, shall I say, preordained that Mom rescued me as a tiny, starving, tick-infested pup from the woods surrounding the big lake.
Four years ago, this was me; my 1st night cuddled safely with my new Mom in her hammock.
Pike Bay has raccoons, rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels in the surrounding forest, along with the occasional black bear. No one has ever remembered seeing a porcupine: sixty years and no quill throwing little rascal to cause anyone harm.
This year, in the early evening, Mom & me go for an e-bike ride. Mom’s peddling on Fred & I’m happily running beside on the dirt road. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a silver lump in the middle of a tarred street that intersects our dirt road.
Mom saw it, thought it was a coon, and told me to “Leave It” in her deep stern voice. The problem was that we’d lived back on the farm for a month. That means I come and go as I please and pick and choose which commands I respond to. This attitude does not make My Mama happy, and I’m about to pay a painful price for slacking.
We were camping, so I had the tone, vibrate, and shock collar wrapped around my neck during our ride. When Mom told me to “Leave it,” I paid her no, never mind, and went tearing toward the object of mystery. Mom hit the vibrate; I didn’t miss a step. Mom hit the shock button, which didn’t register cuz I was in full fledge hunt mode as the little critter started waddling toward the woods.
Mom dumped Fred and ran after us, yelling like a banshee woman for me to “G*d D#^m LEAVE IT.”
It didn’t take much for me to catch up to this slow shuffler wearing a weird coat of rod-like spindles. As I was chatting up the little guy, the nasty barbarian backed toward my big block head, raised its broad flat tail, and slapped me across the face with all his body’s strength.
I screamed and ran back to Mom, crying, “Get’em out, get’em out!” Mom screamed cuz I looked like a pincushion.
Sliding around in the long grass to dislodge them was not working. Mom finally grabbed me, straddled my back, and started pulling.
Mom’s family heard the screaming and came a run’n. All the quills in my head and shoulders were painfully plucked out. I had a mess of those sharp shafts buried deep in my lower lip, and I was NOT going to let anyone get close to those.
Luckily Mom’s nieces Jorden and Taylor had vet and dog experience. Mom’s sis-in-law Jen had feel-good drugs for their dogs, and Jen was willing to share. The plan they decided on was to drug the heck outa me; when I was knocked out, pull the rest of the barbs. The problem is I’m a big ol’ strong hounder, and the drugs made me sleepy, but as soon as I sensed that nasty pliers headed toward my face, I was wide-eyed full awake, and more than capable of keeping everyone away.
It was quite a spectacle; three adult women wanting to help; one large, well-muscled beast practicing resist and evade maneuvers. Can you imagine six, sometimes eight (Jen popped in and out) eyes peering at me with intent while my fear-filled brown eyes are open extra wide and glaring back, in Mom’s teeny-tiny camper? It’s a miracle The Ivy didn’t simply tip over with all the wrestling, pleading, and yanking going on inside.
Finally, Finally, Finally, everyone left The Ivy and Mom fell asleep. I’d be lying if I told you the next day was better. The pain and the quills still embedded in my lip prevented me from eating or drinking. That plus my sorrowful whimpers made My Mama take drastic action.
First, Mom again plied me with massive amounts of drugs. Then Mom summoned the help of three of her strong as bears nephews. I thought Mom planned an ill-advised play date for me until Zack (who in a previous life wrestled cattle) sat on me and put me in a headlock. Tyler held down my front legs, and Levi controlled my back end. Mom and that horrible pain-producing pilers came at me when I was all trussed up.
Mom was having a terrible time trying to grab the barbs. When I screamed in agony and bright red blood followed the plucked barb Mom would get tears in her eyes. Luckily, another nephew, George, strode in to see if we needed help. Thank goodness George had steady hands and could pluck those barbs right outa my lip.
Please don’t make the mistake I did in thinking this horrible ordeal was over. George and crew spied four more barbs in my mouth, and no one was brave enough to attempt sticking their hand in and yanking.
The good news is after the torture, I could eat, drink and play around. The bad news is that I had to have surgery.
We returned to the farm on Monday; Tuesday at 9:30, I went under the knife.
More to come…