Murphy the Wonder Dog has a few hang ups.
If a dog could be neurotic, Murphy would be the poster child.
He has a few odd little ticks, but the worst is he hates having his feet touched. You even brush against any one of his four paws and he jumps like you zapped him with a cattle prod.
You can imagine how much fun it is cutting his toe nails.
The first few times, I used (or tried to anyway) standard issue toenail clippers, which caused the mutt to wiggle, squirm, yelp and run like a pack of wolves were nibbling on his tootsies.
His toenails had to be clipped, which presented a bit of a problem because I did not feel like having to pay someone to chop them off them several times a year.
I saw an ad for a battery-operated rotary file thingy that showed dogs calmly sitting and wagging their tails while their owners – who were also calmly sitting and wagging their tails – gently filed down the dog's talons.
Hmmm, I wonder...
We bought one of the devices and it worked – sort of.
Murphy was much less intimidated by the mechanical file system than he was by the clippers, but the battery-operated gizmo did not have enough power to do the job before Murphy freaked out. Speed was of the essence.
We were touching his feet after all.
So I had a brilliant idea: I would use my rotary tool that can spin at 8,000 rpm. It was designed for intricate woodwork and such, but I figured I would give it a try on Murphy's ever-growing toenails.
And it worked – sort of.
The Dremel had the power to quickly shorten his nails, but I still had to touch his feet to do it. However, even a dog as dim as a 10-watt bulb could eventually figure out if you sit still for a mere 60 seconds, the deed will be done and the agony over.
Murphy is now seven years old and doing his nails is a breeze – sort of.
He still does not like it and will offer some resistance, but in general he is pretty good about it.
The problem is, he is still a drama queen of epic proportions, which made what we had to do the other day about as much fun as brushing your teeth with a chainsaw.
For the first time in his life, Murphy has a swollen scent gland and it is making his posterior resemble that of a male baboon.
Our previous dogs had the same problem on occasion and the vet showed us – or more accurately she showed my medically trained nurse wife – how to take care of the situation.
The fine details of which shall be omitted from these paragraphs because, well, frankly, it's kind of gross.
Anyway, seeing as my wife has extensive medical experience it was her job to um, er, manually reduce the size of the gland by forcing the goo out of it.
Sorry for the visual.
Seeing as I have no medical training, my job was to hold the dog still while the procedure was being carried out.
Our previous hounds would just sit there until it was done without so much as a whimper.
But even before the procedure began, Murphy was whining. As soon as my wife genlty touched the problem area, Murphy lost it and was screeching and yelping like we were killing him with knitting needles.
For a little dog he sure is strong and I had a heck of a time restraining him.
And that was even before we began the procedure in ernest.
As you can imagine, the fun increased from that point on.
He still has a swollen gland, but my wife and I agree it is well worth the expense to make it the vet's problem, so we took the mutt in to have the procedure done by a professional.
My wallet may have taken a hit, but at least my ears aren't bleeding from Murphy's very vocal protests.
Ahhh, the joys of pet ownership.
Copyright 2015, Darren Handschuh