It's one of the biggest dramas at our house – nail cutting time. I don't mean mine, but our three dogs. The only thing I've seen run faster than our dogs at nail-cutting time is the occasional stray cat that suddenly realizes he's stepped into the wrong yard.
That's a violent race to the fence with patio furniture little obstruction for two 100-pound Labs with feline on the brain. Chairs topple, the grill is knocked sideways and shrubs get mangled in the mad dash, all while being barked encouragement from the den windows from my Border Collie, who just can't take the heat this time of year.
The only other time I see our dogs move with that kind of vigor is when we break out the nail clippers, only this time they're the pursued rather than the pursuer. It turns into a wrestling match Hulk Hogan couldn't win. We sure can't. That's why a few years ago we all but gave up and decided it was easier to haul the dogs to the vet, if you can imagine, than to clip their nails ourselves.
Then last Sunday, after a stop in Target on our way home from the Mississippi Press Association Convention in Tunica, Lisa came out with a funny looking box and a wide grin.
It's called a "PediPaws." It's essentially a tiny grinder that is supposed to softly grind down the dog's claws with no discomfort. Our dogs aren't buying that.
We took a picture of the device and sent it to one of our friends who has a few cats and often swaps pet stories with us.
"Oh my," was his only response.
Our three dogs were laid out on the floor about to call it a night when I decided it was time to attempt the doggie pedicure. I barely had it out of the box when all three heads raised up with eyes and ears at full alert with a "something is amiss" look on their faces.
I thought I would start with our yellow Lab Jack whose dew claws are almost lethal. I could hardly get the tool close enough to his nails to even attempt. When I did actually turn the relatively quiet grinder on, Jack jerked back his feet like he was on a hot stove. That was followed by twists and rolls to escape my grasps any way possible.
This is a dog that nearly took me down on the sidewalk earlier in the evening on our nightly walk as he tried to get at another dog. He drags me all over town like I'm a rag doll. He sends cats flipping and flopping over our fence with the mere menace of his bark, yet the light buzz of a grinder in the vicinity of his feet puts him in an all-out panic.
I moved on to my Border Collie King. He actually let me touch a nail for a few seconds before crawling away under Lisa's chair to escape the brutality.
"I think you're supposed to watch some instructional video first," Lisa cautioned.
I confirmed that according to the instructions on the box. But unless the video includes some form of sedation for the animal, I'm not wasting my time. They can go back to the vet.
You may email Joel McNeece at firstname.lastname@example.org