Saturday Paws: Smoothing Out the Ruff Spots

The bright green square tin with the red flowers has been in my life since very early on.  Now when I need a new tin of  Bag Balm I can simply stop by the Costco Pharmacy and pay a small price, but when we had horses or farm animals we would have to drive to a Feed & Grain Store.

For those of you unfamiliar with this product let me give you a little back story: Bag Balm was used in the late 1800’s, maybe even earlier, when a Vermont dairy farmer saw how much it helped relieve his dairy cows from the irritation of frequent cold weather milkings. Applying this lanolin based product to the milking cows’ udders–the teats–resulted in softening while still making them stronger. “Ahhhh,” mooed the cows, “Much better!” Pretty soon the farmers noticed their hands were softer, too, not all cracked and painful! “Ahhhhhh,” said the farmers’ wives and kids, and the cows mooed right along.  In no time at all people were finding all kinds of uses for Bag Balm!

What's in the green can, Mom?

So, here we are 2012—Yes! Can you believe that? And I use Bag Balm on my dogs, also. Many dogs get calluses as they lay on concrete, decks, ground, kennel rock—hard surfaces. Our dogs are just like us! We get rough elbows and knees, and my dogs get toughened skin spots, too!

Some of my dogs’ pals tell me of another reason to break out the Bag Balm! Winter is very rough on paws! Walking out on cold, icy and salted walkways can leave paws in need of comfort.  Many trails here in our moderate weather will toughen up those paws as well. Sandy beaches and ocean water are so fun for dogs but rough on the paws and those skin spots.

What have you got there, Mom?

Mae-be Baby likes it when I give her the ‘down‘ and ‘show me your belly’  commands. She trusts and knows that a treat is nearby and the Bag Balm does NOT smell funny to her. As I rub into those tough spots on her body I  look for scratches that she might have while also putting Bag Balm on the ones that are healing. It is a good time for both of us and we both get softer in the process. And Mae-be doesn’t moo like those dairy cows but she does give a big relaxed exhale, as only a dogs with flews can do!

Not so easy to find those spots on Ruffles! That hair on a Soft-Coated Wheaten can cover up or cushion her body, and sometimes I do think she feels left out. So, we have more treats all around, and a tug-a-war—or even a dance contest.

When life has given me some of those rough and tough spots I sure do wish I could just open up that handy green tin and apply the contents directly to my heart or my spirit—Oh, that soothing balm! Lately, in these times, whether with my dogs…


…with my human friends, or maybe with a blog post or in prayer, I feel like I AM smoothing out. “AAAHHHHHHhhh,” and exhale.

Some people do not like using lanolin, but there are many available products. Use something agreeable for you and your fur-baby– something that works. Because “LIFE IS TOUGH” , and as my Pastor Joe said last Sunday “Rough Roads Ahead” is a sign that should be given to every newborn child! Whew!

Blessings, Beth & the Girls