I once saw a Poodle whose tail had never been docked because his owner hadn’t wanted it done. The dog’s tail seemed to be a constant topic of conversation wherever she took her. The owner was quite defensive, letting everyone know that the dog was, indeed, a registered Poodle, not an accident, but she didn’t approve of tail docking.
Groomers didn’t know whether to shave the tail like a rat’s or leave it long and shaggy. Neither look was attractive. It was sad. Somehow I think the dog knew.
Three days after the puppies were born we took them to the veterinarian to have them checked over and to have the tails docked and dewclaws removed. She came in with her team of two assistants and the three of them performed like a precision machine.
We took the first sleeping puppy out of the basket and ‘snip’ went the tail onto the table, followed by a primal scream that lasted maybe two or three seconds and the puppy was back asleep. Meanwhile the tail was quickly stitched.
Then ’snip’ went a dewclaw… primal scream… tape… ‘snip,’ another dewclaw… primal scream… tape… and the puppy was sound asleep again back in the basket. The whole procedure was completed in about the time that it took me to write about it. Then on to the next puppy. When it was over, three tail snippets and six dewclaws lay on the table and three Poodle puppies were fast asleep in their basket.
Tail docking is something that should be done with Poodles so that they can live their lives looking like Poodles. The tail is shortened with a pompom at the end. It is a look that is unique to the Poodle. It’s part of their Poodleness. I see no reason to defy a tradition of the Poodle icon that has lasted for centuries, especially now that I see how minor the whole procedure is.
Dewclaws are totally useless appendages that serve no purpose and can often cause problems. Groomers have told me that often they had to cut the nail back to the quick because it has caught on something. That has to hurt.
One of my dogs ripped her dewclaw so badly just running across the grass that she had to have it removed surgically. It was not a simple ‘snip’ and it was not inexpensive. It called for an operation with anesthetic and many days of trying to keep her from opening up the incision. Even with surgical tape laced with a foul smelling liquid, reinforced with duct tape, and protected by an Elizabethan bonnet around her head, she still managed to open up the incision calling for a return to the veterinary office to have it restitched. It would have been far preferable to have them snipped off as a puppy.
The people who are fighting against the practices, I wonder if they even have dogs. With all the injustice in the world, don’t they have more important things to be concerned about?