Columbus Meets a Porcupine

Posted by & filed under my life, the puppy diaries.

A regrettable episode of The Puppy Diaries

This morning I took Columbus and Koda to one of the spots I can let them run.  There is a large stream where they can swim and cool down after running themselves silly.  And it’s only a short ride from home.  A nice place to go to tire them out when we don’t have time for our usual hike.

I parked the car and let Koda out.  Last time we went here Columbus ran into the street with Stella, so I put him on his leash and walked him in a ways.  Then I let him go.  He took off towards the stream.  Koda veered to the left into the woods.  Pretty usual behavior for both of them.

“Come on Koda, we’re going to the stream.”  She remained in the woods.  No surprise.  She’s not a good listener.

Columbus, when no one followed him, came back.  He spotted Koda in the woods.

“Never mind, Columbus, we’re going to the stream.” No go.  He went in to join Koda.  He’s not a good listener, either.

I called them and saw that Koda was starting to herd him.  Oh great.  I scolded her and then realized she wasn’t herding Columbus.

She was trying to herd a porcupine.

Oh no.  Oh no!  Oh, no no no no no!!!

Worse than that, Columbus was attempting to retrieve it.

Why did we ever decide to keep animals with not-to-be-domesticated instincts as pets?

FYI, the following words do not deter a dog from trying to bite a porcupine:

  • Columbus! <insert your own dog’s name here>
  • No!
  • Come!
  • Leave it!
  • Cookie!

Neither does saying any of these words in your most growliest voice.

Neither, it appears, does getting a mouthful of quills.

I managed to navigate the undergrowth and get my hand on Columbus’ collar.  He still wanted a piece of that porcupine.  I couldn’t get his leash on because it was taking all my strength to hold him back.  I grabbed the scruff on the back of his neck.  That’s supposed to act like a bite.  It didn’t.  So I decided to give him the real thing.  I bit the back of his neck.  Hard.

Really, what has my life become?  I bit a dog.

It got his attention long enough to get him on the leash.

I think I heard the porcupine yell at us.

Koda was unscathed.

Although I blame Koda completely for the whole episode, beginning with the expectant look she gave me when I walked out of the house with Columbus on the leash.  I had intended on just giving him a solo neighborhood walk.

It’s kind of amazing when you look back at all the decisions you made that lead you into a regrettable moment.

What if I had just walked Columbus?
What if I had left him on the leash longer?
What if I had never kept him in the first place when Stella had puppies?
(Oh, sorry, erase that last one.)

Anyhow, Columbus is now quill-free, although he did have to suffer through a long ride to the emergency hospital.  I wonder if he was thinking through all the decisions he made leading to that regrettable moment when he bit the porcupine….


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