Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Paw

The other day, a client called and wanted to discuss her dog's paws.  She was concerned that her older Lab had begun sliding on the hardwood floors in their home.  She asked me if older dogs develop problems with their paw pads.  Her dog was starting to show signs of aging and our doctor had recently prescribed for her some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds to help with the pain of arthritis.  I explained to her that the sliding was most likely attributed to the arthritis and the meds should help soon.  I suggested to her that some conveniently placed accent rugs, and short toenails could help, too.

Since this phone conversation, I've been thinking about paws.

Yup.  Paws.

They come in all shapes and sizes.  Different stages of wear - some smooth, some rough.  Whenever I meet a puppy, I'm always drawn to those magical, little, soft paw pads.  I just want to feel the soft newness of those stumpy little digits.  There's just something about paws.

Most dogs are sensitive about people touching their paws.  Common knowledge tells us to manipulate a puppy's paws often.  In this way, paws can be easily touched throughout the dog's lifetime.  Even so, most dogs pull away repeatedly during nail trims, if they permit us to touch them at all.  I've never been able to trim nails on a non-anesthetized patient by myself.  It's truly a 2 person job (unless it's my own girls - then it just takes time and lots of treats - LOTS of treats).  I think dogs understand the power of the paw - the importance of those delicate digits.

The paws and their pads take dogs wherever that nose leads.  Without those paws, they can't experience the beauty and greatness in the universe.  A lame dog seems usually to be a sad dog.  Not to say that dogs with limited mobility or those with three legs aren't happy.  Some of these seem to be the happiest dogs of all - they had a brush with the loss of mobility, but have rebounded!  A second lease on life.  Dogs need to move, travel, receive stimuli, intake, experience.

Maybe this is the magic of the paw.  Humans and dogs are linked on such a primitive level.  We started this journey as co-wanderers.  Companions of a sort.  A partnership that solidified at the campfire, the resting place.  It seems natural that we, too, should value travel and experience.  And it all comes down to that companionship.  That camaraderie.  That bond.  

I respect The Paw.  It's power is in its limitless, extraordinary freedom!


  1. I've always loved puppy paws, so silky and soft. We work hard to keep our paws soft and supple round here, but those nails are an uphill battle. We finally changed to a dremel to get Kolchak to SIT STILL> Thank dawg it worked!

  2. Very well pawed. Our Mommy loves to touch our paws every day.:)

    Teddy Bear

  3. Blogger is being very uncooperative today, it ate our comment twice now. Hopefully third time is a charm.

    We are all pretty good about letting the peeps touch our paws because the Momster gives us foot massages quite often. We don't really like having our nails trimmed but the vet techs are very nice and gentle AND we get a treat.

    Of course we all know the Power of the Paw!!!

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  4. I love to hold Eva's paws, just hold them and feel so good that she's with me at that moment!

  5. Yes, dere is nothin' softer den a baby puppy's paws. And dos cute wittle teenie nails....

    Mom is glad dat all of our pack doesn't mind da nail trimming. Dey line up on nail trimmin' day cause dey know dat when dere done, dey get a BIG treat!

  6. Mom likes paws too...sometimes I let her touch mine, but get out the clippers? Oh heck no! Dunc lets her do whatever to his though. Mom loves looking at paw prints...big ones, little ones, she loves them all!

  7. We love our paws! We think Mama loves our paws too because she is always holding our paws while we sleep, or saying, "Gimme Paw" when she has a snack for us! :D

  8. I've thought a lot about paws in the past few months too, since our dog, K, had a serious bone infection in her paw. She lost a toe but, for a while, we were very afraid that she'd loser her whole leg.

    Paws are very adaptable. She uses her 3-toed paw a bit differently than when it had 4 toes but she's still amazingly agile. I love the power of a paw!

  9. What a great post! Paws ARE amazing and how our babies use them is fascinating to observe. And the Power of the Paw can change the world...and has for many.

  10. Wonderful sentiment... we should respect the paw! :)

  11. PAWsome blog!!! I so agree that there is such an amazing, primitive connection between human and canine companion. It touches the soul. The Power of the Paw is indeed powerful and can reach so many. Husky hugs x 5 to you!

  12. I'm all about The Paw and of khourse, The Tail!


  13. Our mom feels the same way about feet!!

  14. So true that a mobile dog is a happy dog. Every paw or limb injury we experience seems to draw a dark cloud over the whole family until everyone is mobile again. That said, we've been so, so lucky - neither Toni nor Téa do more than look at us a little woefully during nail trims or the application of Musher's Secret. One treat and all's forgiven.

  15. The magic of the paw, the power of the paw. What a deep and moving post. Wonderful to consider the history of the bond between dogs and people.


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