I don't really know the function. Sometimes I hear they cut them off. I'd like to cut Ditto's whole foot off so he can't escape from the walls we've created for him to live in. The ground is frozen still so we can't get a new post in the ground to attach our new 5 foot chain link, so he's pretty much become an indoor dog since Christmas. It takes him about 20 seconds to escape but first he always looks back and checks all the windows to make sure we're not watching. He's no dummy!! I know this because I spy on him. Yes it's come to that, spying on my dog. If he sees you're watching he non-chalantly keeps walking past the spot where he always gets out pretending that he wasn't really going to go anywhere.
Anyways to get back to my comment about cutting off his paw, just so you think I'm not a total heartless animal hater... I heard, I think in a sermon once, that shepherds used to break the leg of a lamb who kept wandering off. It was for his own good, so he could learn to stay close to the shepherd and depend on him. He'd learn to recognize the shepherd's voice so well because he couldn't stray very far away. I'd like to do that to Ditto, so he'd stay close and realize it's for his own good we want to to stay close to home. You know so the neighbor's don't hate us because he chews up their garbage and we become outcasts, so that the dog pound doesn't take him away, so that he doesn't get lost- which I highly doubt because he's too smart for his own good. I think with this fellow, if he were in a doggy cast, he'd still find a way to jump over and dig under the fence. He's got freedom in his blood. I guess I don't blame him, I've got a little of that myself.
Well I'm packing up my toothbrush and heading west to see my pseudo-nephews for a few days! My "Sister" Kari is having boy #3 in several weeks, so we're excited to see the family and get the baby used to our voices from inside the womb. I sure hope some tulips are blooming down there! It will make my heart happy!