These cactus, which might be the Cholla, or Jumping Cactus that were the subject of this blog's second post ever, are all over the desert. These are a little different because they have far fewer needles. These are similar in that several needles penetrate at once. They're barbed and so sharp that the lightest touch attaches them. When a dog gets them, they eventually try to bite them out, and then they stick to their lips, nose or tongue. And human hands can't just grab them and pluck them out, because then everyone gets stuck.
Dogs become expert at avoiding cactus. It's amazing to see how infrequently Roo is nailed by one. But they're everywhere, and once in a while the cactus wins.
Here's a practical tip: never go into the desert without a comb in your pocket. Comb down over the embedded needles and flick. An old cowboy on his last legs gave me that advice. If there are too many needles in the skin, though, it'll have to be a steel comb, because a plastic one will break. In the video of me trying to pull one of these out of my hand, you get the idea of how sticky these are.
The picture above was taken earlier in the day, before Roo cut her paw. The video is from last year.
The little Kahoo is going nuts. I'm going to let her walk on it a little.