Sore Paws

A.J. was not a good boy this morning. And, as sometimes happens when A.J. is not a good boy, he wound up spending some time with his veterinarian this afternoon.


Instead of going for our morning walk I took A.J. to the park where he could run off-leash. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. Temperatures were just below freezing when we got to the park. There was snow on the ground which had mostly turned to ice.


We’ve been to this park several times and I’ve been trying to teach A.J. which parts of the park are off limits (namely, any place you have to get to by crossing the parking lot). This morning he headed into an off-limits area almost the moment I removed the leash. I called to him to come back, but not only did he not come back, he purposely ran farther away when I started walking towards him. He just ran off wildly, and didn’t stop for quite some time.


A.J. has always had a certain amount of separation anxiety. Even when he’s running around like a crazed animal, he still keeps an eye on me. So I decided to put a little bit of a panic into him by hiding from him. The first couple of places I hid he found me within 30 seconds. I finally found a spot that was a little more challenging: it took him an entire minute and a half. So much for putting a little bit of a panic into him. Who knew he was such a good tracker?


This isn’t exactly good dog training, but I eventually just ignored him. There was no one else in the park, so he wasn’t hurting anything, other than all my previous training efforts. After about half an hour he calmed down a little. He also did get a little better about staying closer to me after the minute-and-a-half search. He continued to run around and chase squirrels and geese. At one point he decided to chase some geese out of a giant puddle. He underestimated the depth of the puddle and wiped out. He came back a very muddy mess.


After about an hour I decided it was time to go home. By this point A.J. was a little more responsive; plus he wanted a drink of water, which he had to come to me to get. So I gave him his drink and took my bad dog home.


A.J. was still muddy and kind of stinky when we got home, so I planned on putting him in the bathtub. Before I could do that I noticed he was licking his paws. I took a look to see what he had stuck in them, and I saw that what he’d done was rub them raw on the ice. His paws had raw spots, and one had a big flap of skin hanging off. I thought he’d just skinned them, but the flap of skin had me concerned. I didn’t want him to rip it off and start bleeding all over the place, so I called the vet. Fortunately they’d just had a cancellation, and I was able to get muddy, stinky A.J. in right away.


He got poked and prodded and all those horrible things. He was actually a remarkably good boy through the whole thing. In the end the vet decided to leave A.J.’s paws alone, including the flap of skin. A.J. had managed to create and pop a big blister, thus the raw pad and skin flap. So we came home, stinky, muddy A.J. still licking his sore paws.


Sore paws.
Licking sore paws after a long run in the ice and snow.