When Izzie Cries, I Cry Too

Sunday morning I was feeling a little energetic and decided to take Izzie for a walk. During our neighborhood walks, we make one lap one street over and come back, but this time I wanted to head up the main road to the new Racetrac that opened a few weeks ago.

I thought I’d get some coffee, maybe a biscuit, and then we’ll walk back. All the while, Izzie will be able to get her sniff on.

The weather was overcast and mildly cool. It was a perfect day for a stroll, and it’s not often that Izzie and I get to spend time together just us girls.

Everything was going great. When we arrived at the Racetrac, I left her tied to one of the tables outside while I went inside to get my coffee and biscuit. She was upset that I left her, but I wasn’t gone long. We stayed there a few minutes, watching the cars at the intersection go by. She and I shared the biscuit while I sipped my coffee. It was turning out to be a pleasant morning so far.

We started to make our way back. I had my coffee in one hand, Izzie’s leash in the other. Halfway back, Izzie walked into a patch of wild grass in between two office buildings. It didn’t occur to me that she would come across anything devastating to our morning.

But it wasn’t until we started walking again that I noticed her right paw began to develop a significant limp. I bent down and checked her. That’s when I discovered the nasty burrs.

If you’ve never walked through an open field in Texas before, you’ve probably never caught a burr on your shoes or the ankles of your jeans. These can be annoying little suckers. Sometimes they just get stuck in clothing, other times they can be downright painful and thorn-like. The ones that Izzie picked up were the thorn-like kind.

I managed to remove most of them from around her legs, but there was one bad one that got caught in the pad of her tiny paw. That’s the one that was causing her to limp.

I tried to pull it out, but she would protest by giving me a warning nip as if to say, “Ouch! Get away from there, bitch!”

We still had a ways to go, and I was no where finished with my coffee. I figured Izzie was what? 15 lbs.? I could carry her AND my coffee home.

However, it’s amazing how quickly 15 lbs. grew to be 100 in a short amount of time. And no amount of arm switching could relieve the weight I bore in one arm. Oh, but Izzie didn’t care. She looked up at me lovingly like, “Man, this is the best walk ever!”

I measured my distance home by the number of office buildings we passed before we finally made it to our group of cul de sacs. I had two more office buildings to go which meant two more cul de sacs before we reached ours. But I couldn’t do it. Izzie was getting heavier with each step. I had to let my coffee go.

And well yes, I could’ve called Craig to rescue us, but it wasn’t an emergency, and the only major loss was my 99 cent coffee (R.I.P.). So I drank as much as I could before picking Izzie up with both hands and heading home.

When we arrived back, I told Craig all about our walk and then explained to him about Izzie’s minor injury. So like a good Dad, he brought out a fresh, clean towel and spread it on the couch while I examined her foreign objects. I found two more burrs that I hadn’t caught before.

Then came the last one–the one that stuck in her front paw. Anytime I would touch it, no matter how gentle I tried to be, she would let out this high-pitched howl, “Arrooooow!!”

“AHHH!!!” I screamed. “OH MY GOD!”

That’s the level of pain she was in. When she screamed, I screamed too. I was so close to tears.

Craig grabbed pliers and treats and started to distract her with it. While she was distracted, I managed to clear enough of her fur from her pads to be able to see the burr embedded.

“Ok, honey, it’s out in the open now. I’m going to have to hold her down so she won’t bite you,” he said. “But you’re going to grab the burr with the pliers and pull as fast as you can, ok?”

I nodded.

I held my breath.

Craig poised himself at her head; I was opposite him with pliers in hand. Then I went in.

Izzie let out the most painful howl as I deftly grabbed the burr and pulled it out. And in an instant, we both let her go, and she quickly twisted out of our grasp and scampered away.

There I was, holding this ugly little thing in my hand that had pretty much exhausted our morning and Izzie was back to normal, prancing around as if nothing had happened. What a relief.