When we first rescued ReeRee we realized that she had a thing about her feet. She abhorred having her feet touch water. If it was raining, we would have to carry her outside, set her down on a dry spot under a tree and stand with an umbrella over her until she’d go pee.
I think it was because she spent her first few months literally living in a bathtub and then later, with her second owner, she was kept in a studio apartment’s bathroom in the shower stall. I’m not saying the shower and tub were always wet but ReeRee must have been removed for a quick shower and then thrown back in again without drying the tub or shower stall. It probably happened enough times that she got an aversion to standing in water. Also, when she got older, she was kept tied up on a roof on a short leash and was forced to stand in her own urine, burning her paws. Because of this, Britt and I baby her and allow her to emote, even if it seems silly or extra.
One night when it was too dark to see the ground, I opened the gate to walk ReeRee. She stepped out and began screaming. Like a person. “Oh my god, ReeRee!! Okay!” I told her and picked her up and carried her back inside, imagining that I would see her paws bloody from something sharp she had just stepped on. Why else would she have screamed like that?
In the indoor light, with ReeRee whimpering and looking up at me with her big droopy eyes, I discovered the problem. Her feet had gotten wet when she stepped in a puddle.
“Alright, ReeRee. Your fine.” I said as I dried them off with a towel. We still went for a walk but I had to carry her over the puddle.
So yesterday, when she began limping heavily at the beach, I was dubious. Coming off the beach and winding our way back up on the cliffs, she began pausing, offering me her paw and looking up at me. She’s so cute that I always forget about her feet sensitivity and I always end up over reacting at first.
“Oh no babyyyy! Wha happened to da footsie?” I asked her, running over. She sat still and held out her paw for me to look over. No thorns, no cuts, no blood. It seemed fine.
“It’s fine, I think. Let’s just walk back to the car and I’ll look at it closer.” I told her.
She began to slowly limp back to the truck. An older gentleman had stopped walking to watch. I checked her paw again but this time I bent the wrist back and forth to see if it was sprained and I gently squeezed each toe to make sure there wasn’t a toe injury. There was no problem but her limping continued until she refused to walk.
“All right, I’ll carry you.” I told her. To my big dog Jasmine’s delight, I carried ReeRee back up the hill. This really winds Jasmine up for some reason so I slowly made my way carrying one limp 60 pound pitbull with an 80 pound pitbull jumping up and trying to bite ReeRee’s feet out of joy and circling around my legs barking with excitement.
When we got home ReeRee was still holding her paw up to me, even while just laying on the couch, so I shined a flashlight onto her foot and opened up her paw pads to make sure there wasn’t a cut deep down in there. There was nothing. But I did notice literally 6-10 granules of sand crammed in between her toe pad and foot pad.
I shook my head. No way. There’s no way that could be the problem. ReeRee looked at me pitifully. I filled a bowl with soapy water and cleaned her paw, clearing out any sand left over from the beach. Then I dried it thoroughly.
She immediately tucked her paw under her and fell asleep. Later I kept an eye on her as she wandered around the house. She seemed fine. I went out in the yard with her to double check. No limping, she was fine. It was the sand. It. Was. The. Sand.
I gave her a big hug and kiss and carried her back inside. After all, it was raining and the ground was wet.