Monday, July 2, 2012

Burrowing Seed Pods are my Enemy

Prince Orso in his natural habitat
We moved into this house in April of 2006 and still have not landscaped our backyard. We have had extenuating circumstances, and no money. Due to the lack of landscaping, we have a “natural” backyard.

“Natural” = weed infested.

There are these weeds (fox tails) that have seed pods that are shaped like arrows. They get on the dog and the boys and get tracked into the house and burrow themselves into my carpet, the boys’ socks and therefore my underwear because they are washed together in the laundry, and just recently, Orso’s paws.

This is also the time of year that Orso sheds and sheds and sheds and then he sheds some more. I vacuum and vacuum and vacuum, and brush and brush and brush the dog, and just when I think that I’ve conquered the dog hair beast, Orso sheds a few more million times.

At this time of year, the weeds irritate Orso’s belly, so in addition to the shedding, he can’t stop licking himself. It drives me nuts.

This year Orso decided to add his paw to his licking regimen – much to my joy and elation.

Orso has one paw that has two white toes with coordinating white toenails thus making him not "show quality" and costing us less at the breeder. This was the paw that he would not leave alone. I kept trying to look at it to see what was bothering him, but I couldn’t see anything and he would not let me touch it let alone look at it for more than five seconds. DH helped me hold him down because he said he saw a seed pod in the fur above his large pad, so we pinned him down and I pulled the thing out with tweezers feeling as triumphant as the mouse that pulled the thorn out of the lion’s paw, and I thought we would be done with it.

That’s when the limping started.

I thought maybe he just needed time to heal and stop licking the thing so that it could get better.

Then the swelling happened.

After much cursing and swearing and complaining about how much money that dog has cost him and what a waste of money and we should just have him put down, DH took Orso to the vet.

One overnight stay, some sedation, shaving, $750.00 and a cone of shame later, Orso is as good as new. He had his paw wrapped for a night and had to take antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs for two weeks, and wear the cone of shame if he couldn’t leave it alone. Dumb dog (or Smart Dog) figured out that if he stood up, he could bend over and get to his paw, so I left the cone off unless he was in his crate where he can’t stand up. I had to watch him like a HAWK to make sure he didn’t lick it. The vet said they found seed pods in all four paws, but the one with the white toes was the worst.

They instructed us to check his paws daily for seed pods. Having been on the receiving end of his reaction to me messing with his paw when it was hurt (teeth), and being the owner of a ninety pound dog, my resolution to this was to not let the dog in the back and burn down the backyard. Orso was pretty out of it the first day, so not letting him out the back was an easy task. I would let him out the front to do his business, and started walking him morning and night. After a couple of days of this, my schedule became overwhelming, and summer happened and it was fourteen thousand degrees every day, so I had no choice but to let him out the back to run around and do his business. (I did not burn the yard down. The fact that half of Utah is on fire has nothing to do with me.)

In order to check his paws, I have Dewey sit by his head and scritch his ruff while I pick through his paws wearing DH’s headlamp that he uses in lieu of a flashlight when he’s camping. It works like a charm and I can pick out every one of those suckers. Since we’ve been doing this daily for a few weeks now, Orso is pretty tolerant of the routine, so I don’t need Dewey’s help any more.

It’s still a hassle and depending on how many seed pods are in the fur around Orso’s toes (average ten), and how many times he jumps up and runs away from me (average two), it can take me up to half an hour to go through all four paws.

Don’t those dumb seed pods know that they will never be able to grow in my carpet? Or my underwear?

I hate this time of year.

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