Pictured here are a handful of quills that I pulled from the muzzle, tongue, and gums of my Siberian husky, Moki, the first time she met a porcupine. Poor girl, she approached the spiny animal from its rear, because that's usually the safest, non-biting end to approach when introducing oneself. But for a porcupine, that's where its armament is most heavily concentrated. Moki was rewarded with a hard slap of the spiny tail, equipped with about 30,000 barbed and very pointed quills, and left with a faceful of the spiky things, driven deeply into her skin.
Porcupine quills are hollow, airtight, and swell up with body heat, becoming even more tightly embedded in a victim's flesh as time goes on. For that reason, quills that've been embedded for an hour or so need to have their ends snipped offto release the pressure before being yanked out.
In Moki's case, we saw it happen, and with our veterinarian being 120 miles away, there was no time to wait. I pinned her to the ground and drew the Leatherman SuperTool 300 from its sheath, where it rides permanently on my belt as daily attire, here in Michigan's wild and heavily forested Upper Peninsula. Then I began mercilessly pulling quills, before my nerve gave out.
Poor baby screamed (as only a Siberian can scream), and there was blood everywhere. I could hear my heart ripping in half as I tortured my beloved companion of a hundred backwoods survival classes. But it had to be done, and quickly.
When it was over, I released her, and she licked my cheek. I'm not sure that she understood why I had just tortured her so viciously, but she knew that those horrid, tormentful spikes were gone, and at some level, she was happy for that.
Moki recovered with no hard feelings, and no infection, and I fell in love all over again with the multi-tool that has served me so very well for everything from hanging chain-link fence to wiring electrical outlets.