Merwin: Hooks in Household Pets

dog hook

Household pets and fish hooks can be a recipe for disaster. At 5 a.m. one morning a while ago, there was a ka-thumping sound on the floor next to our bed. Turn on the light. There was one of our cats, wrestling with a treble-hooked crankbait. One treble was stuck in its paw. The second treble was stuck in its belly. I still cringe just thinking about this.

So my wife and I wrapped the cat in a bath towel to restrain it, but holding the animal still enough so I could get at the hooks proved impossible. We got the local veterinarian out of bed with a phone call and made the drive to her office at dawn. The vet used an anesthetic on the cat, and I was then able to use pliers and cut the hooks free.

Later that morning, I made a detailed basement tour to make sure that all lures and hooks were shut tightly in boxes. I've been lucky over many years. None of my kids ever wound up with a hook stuck in a foot just from walking around the house. And the cat episode has so far been the only hooked-pet trauma.

I try to be careful, of course, especially when fly-tying, which is when I'm most likely to drop a loose hook on the floor around my desk. Trying to locate a tiny size 22 dry-fly hook that's been dropped on a dark-gray carpet can be an all-day job. A big magnet helps considerably with the finding problem.

There are lots of fishermen with lots of dogs or cats, so I must not be the only one of have dealt with a fish-hook disaster. Anybody ever have to extract a Mepps from the lips of a Lab, for example?