Stress shedding for fun and profit (just not mine)

Missy Spike is the most fussy dog I have ever seen where her feet are concerned. She’ll let you touch her back feet, but that’s about it; her front feet, if you even touch her legs at the joint analogous to our elbows, she quickly pulls the leg away with a sad “I’m sorry but you can’t do that” expression. I’ve been giving her liver treats while I play with her toes to give her “touching toes is a good thing” experience, but it’s going to be a l-o-n-g process.

In the meantime, her toenails keep growing and need to be cut. I managed a few of them once, but to do it with as little trauma to her as possible (which is a desirable thing when you’re trying to teach her that her feet are safe in your hands), I really need a) a table and restraining collar and b) a second person.

So I gave in and took her to the groomer’s today. It took two of them to do her front feet. She nearly pulled out of the restraining collar and did climb up their shoulders and did all manner of “yipe yipe”-ing before they were done. But they did get them done.

When dogs are scared like that or otherwise stressed, they do something called “stress shedding.” That means their hair falls out all over everything at an astonishing rate. I cannot figure out what survival purpose that may have had, unless maybe it meant your pursuer got a mouthful of fur instead of a mouthful of you, but it’s pretty amazing. Here’s a shot of a bit of my shirt when I picked her up off the table (and she actually put both paws around my neck and huddled into my chest as if she were a baby. Which, I suppose, she is, since nobody hurt her).


It’s even worse a little farther down on my shirt, but I couldn’t get a good shot of that.

Posted by wordsmith

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