LOWDOWN Winter 2014

Clipping Toebones

RIGHT now, I should be clipping toebones, as my late friend Debbie called them. I know it, but I just can’t summon up the will to subject myself to snarking and chasing down two dogs which can hide in the most surprising places the minute they see clippers.

It usually goes like this: I get the clippers out and catch one of the dogs by the collar as they both remember very important things to do in another part of the house. Caught dog glares at me, daring me to do my worst.

I respond with fond courtesies, a ruffled ear, scratched spine, assorted sweet nothings whispered in its ear. The glare merely hardens.

I guesstimate the point of cut and just before I squeeze the clipper handles dog breaks out a squeal that suggests I have just amputated half a limb. Losing patience, I snap the clippers and a bit of nail flies off across the room, or quite possibly into my eye.

Dog looks at me in surprise, checks to see the paw is actually still there, I gently, but firmly, lift one paw. Dog not at all gently lifts its lip and emits a warning growl. I tell it to behave itself. Paw is twisted out of my grip and Dog makes a dash for the door, stopped only by my rugby tackle. Dog glares at me in a way that says my family will pay for at least three generations.

‘I squeeze the clipper handles dog breaks out a squeal that suggests I have just amputated half a limb.’

Cutting Toebones

Dog looks at me in surprise, checks to see the paw is actually still there, then non too graciously submits to that paw being finished.

We repeat this about twice, before buoyed up by my success I cut the nail too short. The dog screams and pulls its foot away, sending the torrent of blood up the nearest wall, over furniture and over me. I pack the nail with cornflour to stem the bleeding.

As we are now both on the ground, I get hold of a paw in one hand as I reach for the clippers which span away during the tackle. Dog imitates a cat by somehow retracting its claws and pulls all four feet under its body.

After much coaxing, interspersed by comments not fit for a family magazine, I hold a paw, complete with toebones in one hand, and clippers in the other. I try to estimate how much to cut off.

Now, if your pets’ claws are white, it’s very easy to see where the core ends and the dead nail starts. If, however, like me you have dogs with black nails, you’re stuffed.

Second dog is, by this time, hovering outside the door. I consider repeating the whole, wretched operation. Then I remember something very important I have to do, such as write a piece for Lowdown…

Sally King

Lowdown Winter 2014

hound health ☞

first published in LOWDOWN

guest editor Thea King