The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Karl Terry

Caring for fur babies challenging


September 24, 2017

I don’t have a great memory of exactly how my family came to have the first dog of my life but I’m pretty sure somewhere in the decision was probably a promise from a 5-year-old to “take real good care of him.”

Isn’t that what we’re supposed to promise? I think I probably held up my end of the bargain with good ole Knucklehead. My mother probably has a different recollection.

I haven’t had too long of a stretch since I was 5 that I didn’t have a dog around. As I got older and more concerned for those pets, I realized sometimes that obligation of taking care of those fur babies is easier said than done. Not to mention how crazy and varied the task sometimes becomes.

Keeping the four-legged flea bags inside a fence has always been a challenge. I can’t think of too many dogs that didn’t make this interesting. The gyrations have always been slightly different for every dog and every yard. In some cases I learned that the dog didn’t really want to go anywhere, he just wanted to be on the other side of the fence and lay out on the front porch instead of back.

Doctoring dogs has always been interesting and in the case of topical stuff and drops you best be wearing eye protection because the chances of getting his ear drops in your eye is always pretty good.

Giving pills is another art form. Hiding or grinding up pills in canned dog food doesn’t work cause they can smell it. I had one dog I fooled for a time by rolling bits of sliced cheese up around the pill. He figured it out and I sometimes had to prime the pump by making up three or four cheese balls, get him gobbling them up so fast that he didn’t notice when I slipped the spiked one in on him.

Toenails are another problem. If the dog wears them down by walking on the street with you it might not be necessary to trim. If not, you have to do it. One time trimming into the quick and that dog will fight you forever more the minute the nail clippers come out. I’ve even had dogs get upset when I was trimming my own toenails.

We had one dog that trimming was a necessity or he would carve you up like a turkey. One day the vet came by to do the deed and when it was apparent he wasn’t going to allow it he gave him a tranquilizer. When one didn’t do the trick he gave him another and still he resisted.

“I don’t understand it,” said the Doc. “I’ve given that dog enough to put an elephant down.”

So last week, in keeping with my promise to take care of my dogs, I placed my little terrier Maggie into the sink for a bath. She’s had lots of baths but for some reason she really fought to get free this time. Finally, I pronounced her “good enough” and toweled her off and set her down.

She held a grudge against me all day, relenting a little by bedtime when she needed to sleep with me. We didn’t get back on speaking terms for a couple of days.

Looking after teenage dogs is one thing, suffering through the cold-shoulder treatment is tough though.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:


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