Poor Rosie!

Our poor dawg met Mister Porcupine today for the first time. One of my complaints about Ratty cat is that he is WAY too forgiving with the dog. At times Rosie could really use a good swat on the nose with a couple of claws in the mix, but Ratty just doesn't have it in him. Not even with mice anymore; early on when he still thought he was a stray he was an excellent mouser, but now the ones he brings in the house may be psychologically traumatized, but there is rarely a scratch on them when he lets them go in our beds at two in the morning.

So we had to spend about an hour this morning acquainting Rosie with another new friend, who we call Mister Needle-nosed Pliers.

Mostly the front of her mouth and nose (OW!) and along the side of one paw. All short quills, too, so we figured it was just a baby.

I kind of thought she was up to no good (hindsight being what it is) because she eats every morning and every night at six and usually the half hour before is spent begging and trying to convince me she is STARVING TO DEATH. But she was outside. When she finally came in I said something like "Oh, there you are; where have you been?" when I noticed she was licking her lips and acting like she was chewing on something. So you immediately know something's up. Yup, what a great way to start off the day!

She was very good. Lets you handle her any way you have to, never growled or snapped or whined. Quite the patient martyr.

Unfortunately dogs never seem to learn, no matter what, when it comes to porcupines and skunks. We finally let her up and fed her, and the instant she was done with her food bowl she was out the dog door and barrelling round the side of the house. The point where she dashed into the woods a small hemlock tree stood, and I noticed something dark up near the top. Sure enough, a yearling porcupine.

Stupid dog. She is just NOT going to learn. George never did--he just got quicker. Until he was too old to have much interest in them anymore.

I went out in bare feet to take some pictures, but the little guy was really too high up to get a good shot. And I can't really be bothered to harrass him all day. So what you see here is all you'll get.

This area is lousy with porcupines. My personal best was a few years ago, driving on a series of dirt roads at dusk: encountering six porcupines in about five minutes. Not hitting them, of course, but finding them waddling in the middle of the road as if wanting to be hit.

Once I went running out of the house (I was rushing to drive down to New York for a reading) and I ran smack into a very large porkupine who was sitting on the front walk under the knee-high day lillies. I tried to stop but couldn't and had to jump over him. He was a good-sized one, too--nearly knee high. I wanted to shoo him off into the woods before George came out and found him and discovered an important fact. Porcupines don't "shoo" very easily, especially if you're in a hurry. They don't move too fast in the first place, and if you get too close they stop waddling entirely, curl up and bristle. So it's a good lesson in patience.