Cones and Canines
Our dog Sadie recently went to the vet to have her teeth cleaned and some sort of “-oma” removed from her lower eyelid. As many of you animal-lovers know, these procedures require anesthesia and an all-day-stay at the vet for any four-legged friend. We hugged and kissed our beloved pooch, drove away, and spent the rest of the morning running errands.
By the time we returned home, unloaded the car, unpacked the bags, and ate lunch, we had only an hour before we needed to leave for our second 45-minute trek to pick up Sadie. Between the coats and hats and shoes, the in-and-out-of-the-car-drill, and the buckling of seatbelts, it’s a Christmas miracle that we arrived at the animal hospital in a timely manner.
After paying the bill and beaming like a proud parent while the vet tech raved about Sadie’s positive response to this stress, we finally got to see our sweet pup. But when the tech brought Sadie to the waiting room, Selah and Jude began to cry. Why? Because our spunky little Bichon looked like this:
The poor thing was wagging her tail when she saw us but the kids did NOT want to take her home. Through tears, Selah yelled at the tech, “Take that thing off!” And Jude just stood there and cried, mumbling something unintelligible. I gently, awkwardly took our space-aged-looking dog into my arms while consoling two children and sneaking a glance at the other pet owners, trying to gauge their reactions to our drama. Just as I suspected: Every dog owner in that room was fighting tears, lips quivering, hands placed over their hearts as if pledging allegiance to all things canine. I would have laughed out loud if I hadn’t been so preoccupied with comforting my cherubs and trying to see over the ginormous lampshade Sadie now wore around her neck. At that point, I was more concerned with tripping over all our paraphernalia and ending up with one of those cones around my own neck.
The ride home was spent answering questions related to Sadie’s surgery and her silly looking E-collar (short for the Elizabethan collar). Selah and Jude began to relax as they learned that Sadie needed this awkward accessory to help prevent her from scratching or injuring her stitched eyelid. I sure hope somebody explained this to the folks in that waiting room because I’m pretty sure they were all a hot mess, too.
Once we got home, laughter replaced tears as we watched Sadie attempt to sniff for a spot outside to relieve herself. Every time she put her head down to locate an area, her cone would catch on the ground and she’d jolt to a stop. Or she’d accidentally scoop up gravel with her new cranial shovel. Her continual attempts to figure out how to function with this collar of shame had us chuckling.
Inside was no better, really. She walked around, hunched over with her tail between her legs, refusing to look at the camera.
She couldn’t gauge how much room she had between the dining room table and the chairs or the couch and the coffee table. We’d hear that plastic contraption drag along the floor as she tried to squeeze in those tight spaces only to get stuck, unable to back out or turn. And I lost count of her first attempts at jumping up on the couch. She couldn’t see on either side of her unless she turned her whole body and she was unable to scratch any part of her head, including behind her ears, which must have been sheer agony.
Sadie’s first night post-op brought me back to those newborn days of waking up nearly every hour to tend to the needs of our tiny babes. Her whimpering continued until I brought her downstairs to sleep on the couch. She finally snuggled up to me but with that plastic cone in my face during the wee hours of the morning, you can imagine how well I slept. Just before sunrise, the one thought running through my mind was how we can send a brilliant astronaut to the moon and Skype with folks all over the world but this is the best we can do for a 10 lb. dog with a few stitches on her eyelid.
After 10 days of frustration, Sadie’s E-collar came off on Monday, much to our delight. I’m thankful for the comic relief she provided, especially in light of the past few weeks. I joked with Glendon that we could put a small bulb up her nose and use her for night hikes at camp.
Yeah, okay, maybe not.