Monday, August 26, 2013

What kind of monsters are you people?

We have a new dog, I have said before.  Lola is settling in well, mostly.  We have some pooping issues.  She poops between 8 & 8:45 in the morning & 5:30-7 in the evening & so I take her out in that window.  I take her out & sit with her.  I take her out & sit with her & pretend I am not looking at her because eye contact makes her potty-shy.  We go back in when she asks to go back in.  & sometimes, just a few minutes later, she poops by the back door on the rug.  It's a process.

Anyhow, this isn't really a post about pooping, this is a post about clipping dogs nails.  Since we live on a dirt road, & we don't even have a clearly graveled driveway, it should come as no surprise that our dogs claws grow at a remarkable rate.  Most dogs wear-down their nails in the ordinary course of walking on pavement; ours do not.  & because we have had so many adult-acquired rescues, they often have foot issues.  As in they don't like their feet touched.  There really is not another option here, sooner or later even the worst of the biters & flailers get used to it; one of them even got to like it (I think the pile of treats I bribed him with was a factor).

Not so Lilly.  In her defense, Lilly is a former puppy-mill breeder bitch.  I can see how her babies would present as gorgeous, because she does...kinda.  But when you start handling her (& when those puppies start to grow) you realize there are some real flaws.  Most relevant in this case is her back legs are profoundly bow-legged, the front quite duck-footed & she has almost no range of motion with either pair.  Also, just for fun, she is a miniature dachshund, so the feet on those deformed legs are tucked quite close to her body.  Did I mention she is long haired?  That is an added twist.  All together it means that when clipping Lilly's nails, something she despises, you have to hold her in an unnatural, uncomfortable position.  Then you feel your way blind down a struggling leg to splay out a struggling paw.  The middle finger of my left hand tucked in between the pads does this nicely, but I have to be very careful not to tug on her leg & to be aware before she pulls back & hurts herself.  To give yourself some idea of the scale of this process, I am short with rather small hands even for my height; look at your hands & the feet of the next dog you see & imagine pushing all of those toes out with just the tip of one finger.  Everything has to be done by touch only, on a struggling screaming little dog who will hurt herself badly if she manages to wriggle loose.

I have never once cut myself & I have only once made Lilly bleed (the clip guard got pushed away without my realizing it & I cut the nail too short). The real problem, believe it or not, is that in the ensuing struggle Lilly's nails get tangle up with themselves & then get stuck in that crossed over position.  No, they are not so very long, but her feet are that malformed.  This crossedness is (apparently) very uncomfortable & hard to determine in the fur & general hubbub

Earlier this month we trimmed Lilly's nails for what was the first time since Lola's arrival.  I got out the instrument of torture.  A folded Lilly in the prescribed manner, presenting each foot loosely -as though on a stalk- while I carefully pushed my finger behind each claw & clipped it.  When A rotated her body as I worked around to each foot, she flung herself around thrashing against him, against me, against the pillow she was propped up on.

She also screamed like a banshee the whole time. 

When it was over, Lilly got a greenie (actually I think she got her teeth brushed, something she LOVES & then she got a greenie).  We went looking for Lola to give her a greenie, too.  In the end, we found her huddled in the corner, shaking all over.  It was hours before she would let either one of us anywhere near her.

1 comment:

  1. One of my dogs swears he has nerve endings in his nails. Fortunately he's a Poodle so it is the groomer's problem. She will only do it when the other dogs have been picked up so she won't scar them for life.