Spawn of Satan: The Hazards of an Early Summer

Spawn of SatanSadie had surgery on Thursday to remove a foxtail that migrated into her paw.  My husband stayed home from work both Thursday and Friday to babysit as she has a huge cone around her head to prevent her from damaging the incision area.  This morning I gave him some relief by taking her with me as a friend and I did our weekly coffee klatsch then ran a couple of errands.

A foxtail is the most evil and efficient of plants.  It begins as an innocuous looking grass-like plant, which sets a seedhead – many greenish seeds, neatly organized into what looks like a sort of brush.  When the plant begins to die back and dry out, the seeds shrink accordingly and are then borne off individual by a breeze.  A point at one end allows the seed to land in a dog’s coat, or nose or ear, and a combination of not-quite-visible stickers and a splay of brittle material prevent easy removal.  And when not removed, the vicious little things dig into the skin and migrate into the body.  The dog’s veterinarian estimated that 80% of her patients in recent weeks arrive with foxtail-related ailments.

The foxtail is, in short, the Spawn of Satan.

It felt good to be out with the dog.  This is in fact what I envisioned when I got Sadie:  she would go everywhere with me.  Of course, today wasn’t the ideal great outing because she had trouble getting around with the huge cone around her head and she was rather whiny – likely the result of being on painkillers.  People stared quite a bit when I walked her to a grassy spot adjacent to the Trader Joe’s parking lot, as I thought she might need a pee (she didn’t, but she ran around in a circle for a while while I held her leash over my head.  Maybe they were actually staring at the crazy lady holding a leash over her head in a parking lot … ).  But she was a hit at Starbucks, and my friend accused Sadie of playing the sympathy card when she’d lift her bandaged paw.


8 responses

  1. Those things sound scary as hell but must say Sadie sounds the cutest! Did Starbucks at least offer a complimentary coffee or cake??? Sorry I am drooling at the word Starbucks one of the things I miss the most.

  2. amberfireinus | Reply

    Poor Sadie…… 😦

  3. Sadie is the most darling girl, and like most Spaniels she has the gift of looking utterly pathetic when she does not get her own way, exciting the most sympathetic remarks from passers-by. Combined with a classic set of markings, she is a beauty. I’ll post a picture.

  4. I was slightly confused, as this is what I know as a Foxtail

  5. Darn! That bit of HTML didn’t work! Try this

  6. I’ve added a picture of one pernicious variety. As you can see, it’s not pretty like your foxtail lilies! This foxtail head will break down into numerous seeds that then aim for me and my dog when we are walking nearby.

    A friend’s dog sniffed one up and had to go to the emergency vet. They are not to be trifled with, as if one is inhaled and not removed it could migrate into the brain and cause damage.

  7. I recognise the seed heads – used to make good darts for chucking at other small boys (and girls)

  8. As my grandmother used to say: You could poke an eye out with that thing.

    We used to play with them similarly. I had quite long hair as a child, and spent many afternoons extracting the sticky seeds.

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