Ruckus the Saint Bernard is painfully curious. When the huge pup saw a porcupine, he was quite interested in the odd-looking creature so he got a closer look. The porcupine responded by offering an arsenal of spiky quills right into the poor dog's face.
Ruckus managed to make his way home after the unfortunate encounter and his owners brought him to Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester. They surrendered him to the shelter so they could get the veterinary care he needed.
"And in the hopes that he would find a new home in the Rochester area where he would be less likely to run into any more porcupines," Lollypop Farm Communications Coordinator Paige Doerner tells MNN. "This was the second time Ruckus had been quilled!"
A mouthful of spikes
It took veterinarians about two hours to remove all the quills from Ruckus's face, mouth and body. He was put under anesthesia during the painstaking process. The tips of porcupine quills are shaped like a tiny fish hook, and can be difficult to remove, the shelter points out.
Porcupines have about 30,000 quills, according to the San Diego Zoo. Contrary to what was previously thought, porcupines don't throw their quills. But when they feel threatened, their quills stand up and they can lash out at predators with a quill-filled tail. That is likely what happened to Ruckus.
After the quills were removed, Ruckus was given pain medicine while he healed, says Doerner. The curious canine made a fast recovery and was feeling better in no time.
Despite his unfortunate encounters with wildlife, Ruckus remains a happy dog.
"Ruckus is a big, goofy sweet pup! He is a calm, friendly dog who loves cuddles and a good nap," Doerner says.
And it sounds like he'll be avoiding quill attacks in the near future.
He recently was adopted by a new family that assured the shelter that Ruckus (now named Magnus) will never get into a prickly situation like that again.