Once upon time... well actually, June of last year, my two canine companions and I took a long hike through the high desert. At that time, I used to let them off their leashes to chase each other and tire each other out (that practice is no longer in effect).
At some point, they started running west and I started calling them. They did not come back and, in fact, went into the next field where I could no longer see them. Convinced that they would return home as they usually did I headed back-feeling ever so pissy. On two or three occasions I went out the back door and called to no avail. Finally I went looking, and before I could get more than a few hundred yards. I saw Poppy loping down the access road toward home and oddly enough she seemed to be smiling ?? I soon discovered that I was not actually a smile but a face full of porcupine quills. I was horrified and had no idea what to do. She would begin scratching wildly at her face, which only resulted in cutting her paws. So I picked her up to carry her home; all the time looking around for Dalwhinnie who was nowhere in sight. When I got home, I tried to calm her down, and at the same time remove some of these quills (this was my first experience, and I had no idea that they are barbed and -in theory, one should cut them in half so they will come out easily).
If I let go of her, she began scratching wildly and as I tried to examine her; I realized that she had quills that were stuck in her gums, in her tongue, and her throat. I knew I should probably get her to the vet, but I couldn't leave with my other dog out running around-probably injured as well. I made a call to a friend in town, who promised to come out immediately. We continued to try and remove quills, and in about a half an hour Dalwhinnie showed up at the back door-looking very sheepish and with quills in half her face but not in her mouth. My friends arrived and after much discussion and attempts to remove quills. It was decided that poppy needed to go to the vet. Dalwhinnie had allowed most of hers to be removed and was resting.
Poor little quill face-after much effort-found herself at a West side vets office and immediately rushed into surgery. The story had a happy ending, there was no residual damage for either dog, and I recovered from the trauma after two or three days. Sadly, my two companions now do their exploring on leashes, unless we go to the dog park.