© 2012 Aaron Atkinson

Worse Than a Popcorn Kernel

As a long-haired hunting dog, Indie attracts and holds cockle-burs like a magnet. Her long, flowing tail is especially bad. But Indie has hunted enough to know that she can bite, tug and rip most of the burs from her fur, and as such it’s not uncommon to find a baseball-sized clump of hair and burs in her crate after a day of hunting.

It was Christmas Eve when I first suspected that something might be wrong with Indie. Her breath was rank. I let it go for a couple of days, hoping her bout of halitosis would resolve itself. But when it didn’t, I reluctantly took her to the vet, fearing the worst.

Usually calm and personable, it was strange when Indie protested to the vet looking in her mouth. Even a pair of assistants couldn’t suitably restraint my pup. As such, they sedated her and discovered that she had the mother of all cockle-burs, an inch and  a half long devil, lodged sideways in between her lower rear molars. A week’s worth of chewing had worked the spines of the bur deep down into her gums, leaving a pair of bleeding, infected abscesses. They gave her painkillers and antibiotics as a precaution, and they told me, thankfully, that Indie would be just fine.

When I picked her up from the vet, it was hard to tell who was more relieved, Indie that she finally had the bur pulled from between her teeth (my goodness how it had to hurt!) or me, at the fact that her breath had instantly improved.




  1. Laura
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 1:44 am | #

    Knowing how worried we were about her makes me nervous for how worried we will be when we have human babies!!

  2. Aaron Atkinson
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 2:27 am | #

    Hopefully they don’t eat cockle-burs.

  3. Ryan Fox
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 2:13 am | #

    “human babies” lol

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