By October 28, 2013 Read More →

Foiled by tick trefoil

Though the colors of the fall leaves have been muted this year, the weather has been great. No snow; we did that in 2011. No hurricanes; Irene came in 2011 and Sandy stopped by in 2012.  We’ve had warmish days of 60 degrees and cool nights that just dip into the 30s.

I’ll take a quiet fall. I’ll take less-than-vibrant colors. I would just like to keep my electricity on, thank you very much. I’d like to take my dogs for a walk on a warm, yet crisp fall day, and not have to detour around fallen power lines, or explain to my pups why their favorite Pee Tree is horizontal instead of vertical.

It was our first venture outside our yard for an official capital W Walk in quite a while, and once the dogs heard the magical word indicating my intention, they were beyond excited. Jasper, Lilah and Tucker went straight to that state of doggy excitement where they mill around my legs like a flood of dogginess–and I have about as much chance of getting a leach on them as I do flowing water. Usually calm Lilah found it hard to Sit, and offered up little yips and cries loosely translatable into, “OhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGod, we’re going for a WALK!”

Eventually, everyone was hooked up and sitting at the door, eyes on mine, waiting for the Release command. And we’re off.

It was a pleasant Walk, though some of us had be reminded about proper leash etiquette now and again. But that could be excused, since it’s been awhile, and we settled down into a nice pace. Tucker was so good, remembering all his Canine Good Citizen training, that I didn’t have to hold his leash, and just wrapped it around my waist, leaving my other two hands to help Jasper and Lilah remember not to pull.

The route I planned for today was down a short way on our busy street and then onto a back road that is only paved for a few hundred yards. After that, it turns into  dirt and stone, and there’s a path leading into one of our county parks. I thought we’d walk the trails there for an hour or so, and head on back before it got dark.

As we walked, the dogs were mostly well behaved, except when a tantalizing Smell pulled one or the other of them into a clump of weeds by the side of the dirt road. And of courses, if one dog had to Sniff, the other two are required to stick their heads in as well, in case the smell gets all sniffed up by someone else.

Thus, about a half hour into the walk, all three dogs looked up at me with smiles all over their faces, and burrs all over their fur. These are tiny little burrs from the ticktrefoil plant. They are about the size of uncooked lentil, but they are masters of tangelation; it  seems like they’re mobile, like they can almost burrow down into dog fur.

We’ve been here before; last year Tucker had a facefull of burrs and it took me a half hour and some fancy scissor work to get them all out.

I  remembered this, looking down at those happy furry faces, and waggy tails. I began to pull some of the branches and burrs off of Jasper’s back. Tucker started pawing at his muzzle, which only resulted in him pushing the tiny burrs further in. I looked at his face; he had a row of the burrs on his bottom lip and just under his nose. That had to be uncomfortable.

“Okay, troops, I’m callin’ it. We’re heading home.” At the sound of the word “home,” three dogs looked up at me. I expected some resistance, but dogs are in-the-moment creatures. They’re just as happy to go home as they were to go on the Walk to begin with.

I think the deburrifying took longer than the actual walk. But I know three pups that will tell you it was worth it.

Note: the pictures taken below are after I removed most of the burrs; I had to give the dogs a bit of a break in between deburrification sessions. They were all very sweet about it; I’m sure the distribution of Good Dog treats helped.

Tucker dog with tick trefoil burrs

Poor Tucker. This was after I removed most of the burrs. I had to do it in stages. Notice the tiny one still left by his lip.

Tick trefoil burrs in the fur of my dog Jasper

Burrs in Jasper’s fur. They clump, snag and tangle the fur.


Tick trefoil burrs in Lilah dog's tail

Lilah’s long fur created a more challenging removal task. But, as always, she was patient through the process. And everyone got treats for being good.


Tick trefoil burrs on collar

Jasper’s collar. Those nasty little burrs stick to everything. I had to pull these off one at a time.

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