In the desert there’s a cactus named the cholla. Anyone who’s met one calls it the jumping cactus because little sections of it break off at the slightest touch and seem to pounce and stick into you like some kind of vampire velcro. Their body is rubber-hard and brush-bristled with strong, thin spines, making a perfect natural spring. Desert birds love the cholla, because all they have to do is flit past one when a predator is on their tail to lure the enemy into a painful trap.
That is of course precisely what happened to the young Kahoo. That little cholla you see in her arm spiked her with about 30 spines. Her back paws had another half-dozen from a bigger cactus embedded in them. My bad for letting her off the leash out there. City boy. don’t worry. I got what was coming to me.
When Roo came to me as a foster five months ago, with her paws stuffed with concrete, she decided, after a day or two, to let me cut it out. Now, it’s as if the decision she made to trust me then was for keeps (which is what it turned out to be). She held absolutely still for the uncomfortable extraction. In fact, she has come to appreciate having a personal attendant at the ready for the removal of sand spurs, burrs, cactus needles and other inconveniences. All she has to do is look at me with a paw in the air to get service.
After having to go in to spring her from the cholla, I didn’t fare much better, and wound up with one stuck in the back of my hand. Woe to him to just tries to pull it out. Al that does is make it bounce around and stick more needles in. I had to tear it out with pliers. The barbs were in so securely that the body of the cholla broke apart in the jaws of the pliers before it finally ripped out. Highly unflattering video of the operation is available, though I’m embarrassed to post it.