The Dog With The Cone On Its Head

It was Phil who first noticed the dog worrying at his paw.

On closer inspection, it didn’t look a well paw, and Phil made an appointment to take Macaulay the pungent terrier on a special trip to the dog docs.

The rest of us disappeared to school for the day, but Phil was working from home. He dropped Felix off in the playground and headed for the vets.

The dog sat, adoring Phil his favourite role model, in the passenger’s seat. He grinned doggily through slightly yellow teeth and blew his moustache into aesthetically pleasing poses. Oh, goody, he radiated: another walk? So soon?

Phil pulled up outside the vets and opened Macaulay’s door. The small hairy occupant of the passenger’s seat bounded out with abandon and then froze cartoon-style in his steps. For this was not Walk. No: this was something entirely different and vastly less attractive than Walk.

Mac thinks with his primitive brain on these occasions. Vets means fight-or-flight. A second later he was attempting to weave his way back into the car like a silverfish, in the fond hope that Phil might not notice, and might just repair to the nearest walk venue.

Phil had thought of this and the dog was on a stout lead. But hauling him into the vets was like hauling a rock along with a rope. Macaulay was not going to help, not for one step of the way.

My husband had banked on the fact that there would be appointments aplenty waiting for Macaulay. He would be like a dog in a sweetie shop.

And lo, there was availability immediately. The vet walked out of a small consulting room to greet the tall man with his slithering dog. Melting away is hard to do, if you’re on the end of a lead, but Macaulay was giving it his best shot. The lady behind the counter came out to join them and usher them into the consulting room.

The momentum was in the direction of that examination table: everyone surged towards it, and at the door Macaulay made a stealthy right turn as everyone else walked forwards. No, thank you, he indicated. I think, if it’s all the same to you, I’ll go this way.

He was scooped up on to the table by a cheerful Canadian dog doctor.

“My wife thinks he smells,” Phil commented urbanely as an opening gambit.

“No more than any other dog,” she said affably. “If you think he smells you should get close to a bear!”

Slightly alarmed at a conversation which seemed to be veering as wildly as the dog, my husband replied: “I hope I never get close enough to a bear to be able to smell it!”

She was convinced Macaulay’s parentage included border terrier, despite Phil telling her the tale of a real life Lady and the Tramp – Mac’s credentials state he began the day a King Charles spaniel and a miniature schnauzer found lurve.

As they chatted the dog stood and looked pathetic beyond words. He knew there would be an injection. There was always an injection.

But there was no injection: just a thorough physical. He did not look at the large plastic thing which the nice lady vet handed to the light of his life. He was allowed down and skittered across the pristine floor just as fast as his small tentpeg legs could carry him.

Had Macaulay been human, he might, on reflection, have wished an injection were the outcome of his visit. He is a dog, without any training in geometry or appreciation of two-dimensional nets which make three-dimensional shapes. He could not know the significance of that plastic in Phil’s hand.

But he will next time.

For as soon as they got home, Phil obediently fashioned it into a cone and fixed it to Macaulay’s collar.

And once it was on, he sympathetically took a picture and sent it to my phone at school. Look at Captain Horatio Hornblower, he brayed in a text. This is a picture of a dog who deeply disapproves.

The cone stops the dog worrying at his paw. It has to stay on every moment except during his precious walks. He wears it as a human might wear sackcloth. It must remain around his neck until the weekend, when his paw will have recovered sufficiently to be less worrisome to him.

Usually when we displease Macaulay, he turns his back to us. But this evening as I type, he has removed his royal presence from the room. He is trying to get some kip just out of sight.

If you want to see me, he emanates, take off this infernal cone.

Then we can negotiate.


61 thoughts on “The Dog With The Cone On Its Head

  1. Cracking piece, Kate. A lovely read first thing in the day. πŸ™‚

    “He grinned doggily through slightly yellow teeth and blew his moustache into aesthetically pleasing poses.”

    I remember episodes of the Dog and Cone. Hope the rest of you are wearing shinguards!

    1. πŸ˜€ It’s getting through the back door or up the stairs that are proving the most challenging, Jan! He doesn’t calculate for the extra space needed and walks into things all the time. He doesn’t seem to be learning by his mistakes either….and yes, bruised shins are the order of the day.

    1. I suppose it might be a source of socialising, Angela: I’ve never heard of an animal who loved the vet before. I would swear my old hamster Ben got a different light in his eyes when we reached the dreaded premises!

  2. Awww, poor puppy. When my dog had the cone of shame on (to keep him from investigating his newly ball-less status), if he left the room for longer than about 5 minutes, you had to go looking for him. He didn’t ‘get’ that the cone required a wider turning radius, and you’d find him, head down, cone wedged against the corner of the wall, preventing him from continuing forward. Backing up wasn’t an option, either, not with a clear view of where he wanted to go and no understanding of why he couldn’t move forward. Strangely, he still loves the vet. He drags me to their door when I open the car door, tail wagging like i’m about to let him dive into a pool of kibble.

    1. Oh, Lexy, thanks so much for leaving a comment, and what a cracking one at that! The thought of your poor dog irrevocably wedged somewhere, waiting patiently for delivery – hilarious. But aw, poor soul.

      And still he loves the vet. I wonder if someone should try to teach my dog the same lesson?

  3. Poor baby! I’ve yet to see a dog or cat with a cone that didn’t look terribly sad and embarrassed. They must think they’ve done something really awful to be treated that way.

  4. Poor Macaulay – I have yet to meet a dog who appreciates those cones, but they are really a godsend (and quite a clever invention) for dog owners in cases like this…

  5. In his heart, he is working this cone for everything it’s worth. Those eyes know a good spoiling is on its way when the cone is done, if only he can look pathetic enough. πŸ˜‰

  6. Poor little guy! I just wonder if he thinks he’s done something wrong to deserve such confinement. How did Phil keep from guffawing at the suggestion he might smell a bear as comparison? I have hurt many a person’s feelings by reacting to ludicrous comments! I’m sure Saturday can’t come soon enough for him…or the family! 😦 Debra

  7. Oh dear – I wouldn’t like to wear that to bed at night (would never get to sleep πŸ˜‰ – you think they could put something over the paws rather than over the head (suppose that would be too difficult given the large variation in doggies out there).

  8. Yay, a see-through collar. You are one very fortunate wee pup, Mac! Ah but just think. Those walks will be all the more inviting.

    You tell that Vet the next time you see her that a smelly bear is a detected bear.

  9. despite my Boxer having had to have life saving surgery three times a week for a month, she loved every visit to the vet – even the last one. Last year we had Patch’s eye removed and she had to wear a cone while the stitches did their job – she walked backwards for days trying to make it come off – and kept walking the cone into the table – quite a laugh really. Does your dog get chicken in his food? We have been told that paw licking is related to a chicken allergy – we have put our Jack Russells onto Eukanuba dermatosis as the little one is highly affected by the chicken in the Hills and other foods. Have a happy weekend πŸ™‚

  10. Yes, you captured the story perfectly in word pictures and had me chuckling throughout. He does look rather innocent in that photo, I think it’s a ploy to get you to realise the errors of your way and remove the sackcloth. πŸ™‚

  11. Poor little one! He looks so embarrassed! What a great posting and Ted is groaning in sympathy. Aren’t our dogs so funny when it comes to vet things? Ted will not let me cut his toenails, but for the girls at the vets? His paw goes up and he stares at them oh so loveingly! Great Post Kate! Really enjoyed it!

  12. Poor Wittle Macauly…
    Hey, could you ask him to stand by the window…to the west, now,..a little to the left….Yeah, that’s it…I’m picking up Stig on Top Gear Live now…Good Doggy

  13. What a wonderful photo of sadness & despair. Hope his paw gets better soon.
    Your writing is so descriptive & really brought the story to life. Saw your comment on Martin’s blog where you said you were going to check out my blog. That would’ve been my blogger site but I today transferred to as I was sick of Bloggers slowness

    1. Thanks Tony! Very good of you to come and flag up your presence, and welcome to WordPress! We all swear by WP, despite their rather odd prompts and their propensity to set us goals we don’t want. It does what it says on the tin πŸ™‚ Your blog looks great at first glance: and I’ll be popping back shortly to read more.

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