My ex and I had three large dogs when we moved to the mountains. They went crazy with the newfound freedom. A couple of weeks later they took off to recon the area. After five days, I had about given up on finding them. On the sixth day they showed up. The two males looked like they had grown walrus mustaches and beards, they had so many quills. The female was a little more subtle, until we realized her quills had punctured her mouth from the bottom side, gone through her tongue and into her palate, pinning her mouth shut.
We rushed her to the vet, of course, and incurred a bill we really couldn’t afford. (This was back in the poverty days.) Shasta learned her lesson, and never ran off again. Smart girl.
That leaves the two boys, Eiger and Boomer Allen. I was able to calm them and pull all their quills. It was a painful experience for us all, but lesson learned, right?
Wrong. These were male dogs, and when a male dog sees someone who hurt him last time, well this time things are gonna be different. Right?
Ha. The next time they came back with quills, I had to use pliers to take out each one. There was lots of whining, and an undercurrent of growling. Very faint growling, but it was there.
The next time (oh yes, they did it again) I took out Eiger’s quills but Boomer wasn’t having any of it. I had to take him to the vet, where they sedated him and cleaned him up. More $$$ down the drain.
The next time, Eiger came back just slightly damaged but Boomer was a mess. So, thinking maybe I had learned a lesson, I went to the vet and got a tranquilizer and tricked Boomer into eating it by stuffing it in a ball of cheese. 30 minutes later, Boomer was out. I moved him around a little to check, held another piece of cheese next to his nose…nothing. That boy was sawing some logs. So, I get the pliers and move them towards his bequilled nose…and he snaps at me! He’s still in la la land, but his subconscious is on guard!
Eventually, I gave up. (Boomer was part St. Bernard, and had some very intimidating, very large teeth.) So off to the vet we go. The vet had to peel back half of Boomer’s face to get all the quills, and then stitch him up again. The vet told us that he stopped counting after removing 700 quills.
That was the last time my dogs ate porcupines. Males can learn, it just takes us a little longer.
And oh yeah, remember Shasta? Well, when we took her in to have her spayed, what do you suppose the vet found when he made the incision? Yep. A quill. And this was two years after her encounter.