You know Cooper? The dog I live with now and then?
He went swimming in Vancouver with his real humans ten days ago and sliced open a paw, and had to get stitches and a bandage. I took him to the vet hospital for the second bandage change this afternoon and they told me there was a “buildup of oil” because of the confinement of the bandage, so he has to be on zero activity for two weeks and he has to wear the cone. I wanted to rip my own head off on getting that news.
So we came home, and I picked up the dreaded plastic cone where it was sitting waiting, and tried to put it on him but he leaped backward (naturally). Since the fastening mechanism looks like a medieval torture device and is very hard to manipulate, I was stymied, and besides I didn’t want to put a huge rigid plastic basket around his head. He wasn’t licking the paw, and he was sleepy from the walk we’d been on before going to the hospital, so I put it off…And belatedly thought to look for advice online (duh) and learned that there are soft cones. Soft cones! Well why the hell would anybody use those plastic horrors then?
I phoned the vets to ask if that was ok, and they said oh yes, it’s what they use on their dog, so the dog and I got in his car (perhaps to be considered too much activity, but I wasn’t going to leave him alone on top of the other miseries) and went to the local
vet pet store. Did they have soft cones? They did indeed. I practically cried when I saw it. Soft. A dog can sleep in a thing like that. It will pillow its little face.
So we went home, and I had gathered my wits and made a better plan: I got out a stinky dried salmon treat and went outside with him and it – and then had to put it back in the treat jar and go get a cloth to wipe the ropes of treat-drool off his jaws before putting the collar directly into their path. By the time I got the treat out again and went back outside he’d licked the drool off and was all tidy. I put the treat down where he knew it was there, and told him to sit, and put the collar on. The other thing about the soft collar is that it has velcro straps instead of a medieval torture device that you have to thread through slots. Just a tiny bit easier to work with.
It was a bitter moment. Disillusionment enters his life for the first time – and a rift is created between us. He’s known me since he was this:
I got him to eat that first day. And now – this. How could I?
Well, I sat down on the bottom stair (after putting the fragile antique jar that sits there in a cupboard lest he blindly bash into it) and called him over and cuddled his ears and he leaned into me and wagged his tail.
Then he sat hunched over for half an hour without moving, looking as if he were in shock. Then he went to sleep.
I now think it may actually be tranquilizing him a little. It’s opaque and black, which is crap for navigation, obviously, but maybe it’s calming, like horse blinders. Since he has to be inactive for two weeks, that’s the best thing he can be.
I’m a worrier. Can’t help it.