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An Official Maine Chiots

November 14th, 2012

Lucy, the resident chiots and the namesake of the blog, became an official Mainer on Monday night. She ran the gauntlet of the porcupine and came out the other side plastered with quills. Of course it happened right as we were getting ready for bed.

Mr Chiots and I worked quickly, pulling them out with pliers. Luckily, her front left quarter panel received the brunt of it and she only had 3 in her face and 4 in her paw. She stayed fairly calm through the extraction process, which took about 5-10 minutes. I don’t know if it helped, but we read on-line to snip the ends off the quills and pour some vinegar on them. It seemed to work, although I’m pretty sure the quick extraction was of most benefit.


We had avoided an encounter with the baby porcupine that was lurking around when we first arrived. We are now thinking that perhaps we should have let her learn her lesson with the little one instead of the HUGE one.

She was back to normal the next morning, hopefully a little wiser. All in all, this wasn’t as bad as her encounter with a skunk, which lingered on for almost a year. Poor Lucy is having to learn a lot of new lessons in her old age.

Do you have porcupines in you area?

37 Comments to “An Official Maine Chiots”
  1. dkswife on November 14, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Poor thing! Thankfully, we do not have porcupines in our area.

    Reply to dkswife's comment

  2. Adelina Anderson on November 14, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Oh yes. Our porcupine is named Quilly by my 9 year old daughter. Quilly does enjoy watching us when we are outside in the evening. I believe that the porcupine lives in the culvert in the front yard by the driveway. We don’t have dogs so no worries there and the kids know enough to stay far away. I would just wish that Quilly would stop using my driveway as a toilet.

    Reply to Adelina Anderson's comment

  3. Eliza J on November 14, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Poor Lucy! Several years ago my nephews were home briefly while their parents were out. One of the dogs connected with a porcupine. My husband and I went over to remove quills. I learned from my husband that if you snip off the end it will deflate the quill and make it easier to pull out. He had most of the quills in his muzzle ~ nasty stuff!

    Reply to Eliza J's comment

    • Susy on November 14, 2012 at 8:13 am

      I had also read that snipping the ends of helps, which we did.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Ivy Mae on November 14, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Wow, poor doggie! I’ve never seen up close pictures of porcupine quills before. Here in N. Florida we definitely don’t have the threat of porcupines–but we do worry a lot about the coral snakes that lurk under leaf litter. Our dogs seem to have no snake sense at all…

    Reply to Ivy Mae's comment

  5. Mich on November 14, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Poor Lucy, she does look like a sad pin cushion!
    Thankfully we have no porcupines in the UK. Phew.
    The only spikey critter is the hedgehog, but luckily it doesnt do anything as devious as your porcupine with its quills…worst thing with a hedgehog is they are flea ridden!
    When threatened it rolls up into a ball, sadly they do this on the road too resulting in a lot of hog roadkill :(

    Reply to Mich's comment

  6. Teresa Anderson on November 14, 2012 at 8:13 am

    When I seen the picture I know instantly what happened so yes, we have porcupines. At least once a year I or my brother would have to help dad pull them out of at least one of our yearling calves noses. Any new dog we got had to have at least one run in with a porcupine (and skunk) and once I remember helping pull some out of the nose of one of our horses. Out of all of those the one I remember the most was the horse, I think that was because it was the one that was the hardest. Lightning was a sweetheart but a little to curious for her own good, and if I remember correctly she was also the horse that figured out how to open the gate.

    Anyways I’m glad she’s doing OK and I’m sure that will be the last time she messes with them.

    Reply to Teresa Anderson's comment

  7. Jaye on November 14, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Oh no!!! Poor Lucy :((( While a sad occasion, I found myself very interested to see the process, thanks for the excellent photos.

    No porcupines in Texas (thank goodness).

    Reply to Jaye's comment

  8. Joan on November 14, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Our dog Sandy had a number of encounters with porkies here, and she won’t stay still while we pull out the quills so we had a couple of late night emergency visits to the vets office. You were lucky with Lucy.

    Our barn was full of porcupines living in the area under the floorboards. In one place we could lift up a floorboard and watch a whole porcupine family down there! Our barn had been abandoned for years and many critters had made their home in it. We finally had five porcupines live trapped and moved. Now we still have an occasional one moving through but they haven’t stayed more than a few days. Knock on wood!

    Reply to Joan's comment

    • Susy on November 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Poor Sandy!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Rhonda on November 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Ack! I opened your blog and it took my breath away! Poor Lucy! Glad she’s feeling better. What a hard lesson to learn. I guess she’ll be leaving those critters alone from now on.

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  10. Jessica on November 14, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Wow, that’s something I’ve never seen before. Poor Lucy! That looks awful. Glad there aren’t any lingering effects. What an image – I was shocked when I saw that first picture with all the quills sticking out of her.

    Reply to Jessica's comment

  11. Stone soup on November 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Oh poor Lucy! Hopefully that will be one lesson that she won’t have to repeat!

    Reply to Stone soup's comment

  12. Denimflyz on November 14, 2012 at 10:02 am

    From experience working as a vet tech, and an ICU pet nurse, your attention to pulling out the quills before they started working themselves into the skin and body was what saved Lucy from a nasty surgery. The quills have very tiny barbs that are pointed inward, and as the victim moves around, the barbs move deeper into the body. I have seen in surgeries, quills into the lungs and other vital organs. Some have died.
    Stellar work, Susy. Just watch the spots for infections, redness, pus-like blisters, fever.
    We have these critters here, and they can be quite ill tempered. I hit one one time on the highway, and I ended up with a flat tire!
    Have a wonderful Maine week.

    Reply to Denimflyz's comment

    • Susy on November 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      A flat tire – Mr Chiots and I were discussing this once as we saw a porky road kill.

      I’ve been giving Lucy some St John’s Wort and most of the spots got a good spraying with Neem Protect Spray which I have found to be wonderful!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  13. amber jackson on November 14, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I agree porcupines have pretty nasty quills, our dogs used to get hit every once in a while. The only thing I would say is watch closely for infection and that you got them all, I give my dog a Echinacea goldenseal blend for dogs whenever it seems like she is under the weather, it may be helpful in this to prevent infection. Just curious what do you feed your Chiots Run animals?

    Reply to amber jackson's comment

    • Mr. Chiots on November 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      Hi Amber. What we feed the animals will be a topic in an upcoming podcast. They eat like we eat… REAL food.

      Reply to Mr. Chiots's comment

    • Susy on November 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      Our pets eat a raw food diet and we’re hoping to transition them to a whole prey model when we have rabbits. We gave Lucy some St. John’s Wort and she got some astragulus steeped chicken stock to boost her immunity.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. jennifer fisk on November 14, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Even though you’ll always be “from away”, you’ve made a monumental step towards becoming real Mainers. You’ve dequilled your dog rather than going to the Emergency Clinic in Brewer. Snipping the quills does nothing to help get them out. Fast pulling before the barbs swell is the best answer. And if you didn’t know, getting quilled just before bedtime is almost a given.

    Reply to jennifer fisk's comment

  15. Sherri on November 14, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Poor Lucy. Our Rascal got hit earlier this year. She didn’t have as many, but they were all in her mouth. We pulled a lot of the quills (wish I’d known about snipping them), but we ended up having to take her to the emergency vet to finish. Why does it always happen right before bed?

    Reply to Sherri's comment

  16. Glenda on November 14, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Holy Smokes! Shocking photo of Lucy. I’m surprised you managed to get the quills removed so quickly!

    Reply to Glenda's comment

  17. Rocky on November 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Wow, poor Lucy. I am sorry to find out that she had to learn it hard way. I just hope she is a good learner. Because our dogs weren’t good learner at all. Encounter with porcupines and skunks in our back yard seems to be annual ritual for them, it seems. All and all, they have been skunked 3 times, and porcupined twice in last 7 years since we moved to Maine. One encounter with a baby porcupine was especially bad, that most of quills ended up inside of mouth. The poor dogs could not even close the mouth and yelping in excruciating pain. We had to take them to emergency vet visit at 4 am. They both had to be general anesthetized to remove the quills inside and out. At $2/a quill the vet charged for this procedure, for over hundred of quills in each dog, you do the math. Yes, it was quite damage. Best difference against skunk and porcupine are not to let dogs out when it’s dark outside. Both animals are nocturnal, so the chance of encounter is much less during day time.

    Reply to Rocky's comment

    • Rocky on November 14, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Woops. I meant to write “the best defense against skunk and porcupine” not “best difference”. :(

      Reply to Rocky's comment

  18. amy on November 14, 2012 at 11:04 am

    YIKES!!! Poor Dear! The photos are so shocking….and I live on a farm…….but fortunately one without porcupines!

    Reply to amy's comment

  19. Donna B. on November 14, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I’m happy that there weren’t many in her muzzle/paws – that must have been painful!
    It’s weird to say too, but that photo of Lucy does look sort of charming… I was taken back first at how calm she looked in her situation. She’s quite a tough noble lady… ♥

    Along with that, I am happy that I have a fully fenced in back yard; but if my dogs got out my only real worry is traffic. My poor Cecil already got hit by a car while he was still a baby… [a big baby, but a baby nonetheless.]

    I still fear the day my pups get skunked. I don’t find the odor of skunk musk to be offensive, but my dearest who has had many dogs get skunked warns me of how terrible it truly is. /shudders

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

    • Susy on November 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      She is a very tough dog, always has been.

      I agree with your dearest, the skunking is really bad, and they smell slightly of it for oh so long!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  20. Warren on November 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I have never seen a pp in WV but in PA we had tons of them and our dogs got into them over and over…you may not have seen the last quill in your dog…sorry!

    Reply to Warren's comment

    • Susy on November 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      Yeah, it’s wishful thinking that this will be only dequilling we do.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  21. Sherri on November 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Oh boy, can we relate! Our dog has had THREE encounters with porcupines and all 3 times needed veterinary care to remove them… HUNDREDS in his mouth (under his tongue, between his teeth, in his nostrils, etc). Unfortunately, our dog is a total ninny and was so combative we could not remove them even with the help of 4 grown men to hold him down. He fought like his life was on the line and it was too dangerous for the people involved as we were all worried about getting bit.

    Reply to Sherri's comment

  22. Lynn on November 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I worked for a veterinarian for 25 years and I am Very sorry to tell you that most dogs don’t learn any lessons by this experience. I don’t have
    any idea how many times our own three dogs had encounters. Most we
    could take care of ourselves but a few times (often enough that they would just jump in the open car door and at the clinic, practically jump
    up on the table, lol) we did have to take them to the clinic for some anesthesia. I hope Chiots is smarter than most in my experience…for some it almost seems to be an “I’ll get YOU this time” thing.

    Reply to Lynn's comment

    • jennifer fisk on November 15, 2012 at 8:30 am

      I’ve had one that actually did learn. She was a certified SAR dog so did her recall refind on every porcupine she found be it dead or alive but only allowed quilling one time.

      Reply to jennifer fisk's comment

  23. Julie on November 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Poor baby! What a horrible experience. We’ve never seen a porcupine around here (Upstate SC), but I’m sure my girls would find it if they were around. They are just too darn curious to leave alone something so interesting! And we’re also lucky that they haven’t encountered a skunk. We definitely have skunks. Hope sweet Lucy stays far, far away from Mr./ Ms. Porcupine.

    Reply to Julie's comment

  24. Wendy on November 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Poor puppers! Glad you were able to get the quills out quickly. We have porcupines around here, but we’ve only seen them from a distance.

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  25. jennifer fisk on November 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Also, it doesn’t hurt to have some Acepromazine on hand to dose the quilled canine. Lala land is a good thing when it comes to quill removal.

    Reply to jennifer fisk's comment

  26. Carrie on November 14, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Oh no!! Poor Lucy!

    This summer, while hanging out at my in-law’s farm, I noticed their Australian Shepherd was limping a little bit. I got her to lay down so I could check out her paw and saw a few quills. Upon inspection, her whole chest, neck, and left shoulder were all covered with deeply imbedded quills. I think she found a dead porc and decided she needed to splash on some Eau Du Dead Porc perfume and rolled in it. They didn’t seem to bother her, but heaven knows she would have been in bad shape if they had gone unfound for too much longer!

    Reply to Carrie's comment

  27. Hannah on November 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Poor woocy I Miss her soooo Much ….. How you all doing ??

    Reply to Hannah's comment

    • Susy on November 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      Great miss Hannah, Lucy’s back to normal.

      Reply to Susy's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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