Cone of Shame

Last week Guinevere took a flying leap off the back porch steps in her never-ending pursuit of squirrel removal in our back yard.  Not that this pursuit has ever shown any positive outcomes.  When she came back in, she was limping a little and leaving a little trail of bloody spots on the kitchen floor.  When YA and I wrestled her to the ground to take a look, it turns out that she had ripped one of toenails partly off below the quick.  Ouch.

Neither I nor YA was brave enough to clip off the nail so YA carted Guinevere off to the vet where they applied a little anesthetic and loped it off.  Of course that turned out to be the easy part.  Guinevere, like most dogs I assume, just could not leave the toe alone.  I’m sure after the drugs wore off, it hurt so she reacted as animals do.  Licking.  And licking.  After not long a time, she had licked her little pad raw and she didn’t show any signs of stopping.

At night we were able to wrap her foot and leg up within an inch of its life (antibiotic ointment, bandage, sock, lots of painter’s tape) but during they day, she had the wrappings off within minutes.  YA found a cone of shame up in the attic and brought it down to try to keep her away from the foot.

This turned out to be awful for the dog and for me (dog spends more time with me at night).  When we put the cone on her, she was beyond paralyzed.  She wouldn’t move, wouldn’t lay down and after about a half an hour, she started to breathe a little heavily.  Her eyes said “please, please save me” and I couldn’t stand it; I took the cone off, made her get on the bed with me and re-directed her every time she took a lick.  This went on for DAYS.  And do we even need to say that repetitive noises (like a dog licking its paw) drive me up a wall? 

Finally at the 10-day mark, she has mostly stopped bothering the toe.  The quick appears to have covered over and her pad is now longer licked raw.  I’m not sure who feels better about this – Guinevere or me?

Have you ever had to be cruel to be kind?

30 thoughts on “Cone of Shame”

  1. Our cat believes we are ogres when we brush her with the furminator brush and clip her nails. “Don’t pick me up!” Don’t touch my paws!” After a few minutes of sulking she then gets playful and lies down on the living room floor in front of us and gazes at us lovingly.

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  2. Since Husband’s stroke, I have heard myself say to Husband a number of times that what we’re doing is for his own good – the amount of water I try to get him to drink every day, how many walks we should take during a week… Not cruelty, certainly, but it sometimes feels mean at the time that I’m “enforcing” it.

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    1. Barbara, let me give you a comforting hug. I have had to do this for my spouse and I know how hard it can be, time after time. It was especially hard as he has severe short term memory deficits so hard to recall safety techniques or your explanation of why you are trying to help with his rehab. You certainly have to choose your battles. Yes you do feel mean and if it gets too much then hiring a caregiver for most difficult times can be helpful. I live in a place now where we can hire aides to come from the memory care floor. I hired help for shower, AM dressing but was surprised how relieved I was when I hired someone to get him to bed at night. It meant I had time to relax and slept better. But the constant vigilance can be exhausting.

      Liked by 5 people

        1. I live in Minneapolis. My spouse is now on the Memory Care floor of our building (I am in our apt on the 5th floor) since November. He is getting excellent care on a small memory care unit (20 beds). He is gradually fading away-can no longer walk (safely), sleeps a lot, no longer reading. We are so lucky that we moved here 4 years ago when he was still mobile and more interactive. Fortunately he is sweet and polite, no attempts to “escape” or oppositional behavior. The aides love him.

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  3. Every night, ever since the vet told us to brush Kameli’s and Keanu’s teeth. He’s a pretty laid-back boy and doesn’t mind too much (beef-flavored pet toothpaste helps), but Kameli hates it, and I feel bad. Still, it’s a whole lot better than dental surgery, though you can’t explain that to an annoyed cat.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Before posting today, a poll of two 40 plus years old kids, revealed no PTSD from vaccinations as infants. I’m relieved as I still bear the smallpox vaccine scar and vividly recall exactly the Moorhead location where I received it.
    A poll of the four 2 years old kids reveals lingering ill will towards me. The Birds had all been given clean bills of health from an avian vet but after 6 months Art was showing signs of a respiratory ailment. The vet gave me two medications that needed to be administered orally twice a day. And since one bird had a problem, it was likely that the other three would soon enough become ill. The course of the medications was 10 days. Procedures follows.
    Secure bird by hand. Force beak open. Dose bird. Dose bird. Once mornings. Once evenings.
    Easy peasy? Hardly! Budgies are quick! In hindsight, I should have had 4 smaller cages to prevent escape. But in the event, getting one meant that the other three escaped. Now I had to net them. Horrible for them! Horrible for me! It would take at least 3 hours every day to do this. It has taken over a year and lots of millet treat to regain trust.
    Happily, the vet declared them completely healthy. If this were to happen again, I will board them at the vet and let those people feel the wrath of The Birds.

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  5. I can be an extremely ‘tough love’ person in those kinds of situations. To the point where I can come across as rather nasty and mean. But I’ve always believed that if there is a medical condition that needs fixing, you just get it fixed and move on. When I needed my ACL replaced, my surgeon was trying to be very sensitive and tiptoe around getting it done. He said, “So, when do you think you might want to have this surgery done?” I said, “What are you doing tomorrow?” He was kind of startled and stammered, “Well, we’ll have to schedule you but you have choices to make on how we replace the….” I cut him off, “Cadaver! Let’s do this!” He laughed. I was back doing aerobics classes within 6 months.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I just sent a message to my doc about knee replacement. We figure we’ll have my deductible used up already from the shoulder, let’s just go for the knee! (but not tomorrow; I got things to do tomorrow).

      Liked by 6 people

  6. I’ve had to do a lot of things to animals that was supposed to be for their own good. They sure didn’t always appreciate it. I’ve used a ‘balling gun’ to stuff pills down a cows throat, that was always interesting.

    Mostly I’ve been on the receiving end of medical tough love. I’m not always the best patient…
    Mom tells me I’d be a good nurse. Mom’s opinion is always right. 🙂

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    1. I’ve never met her, but I love your mom, Ben. She sounds like a wise and wonderful woman. How is she getting along now that she can’t see, or has that changed?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you PJ, She’s pretty cool.
        Thank you for asking.
        She’s really struggling with the loss of vision; she says she never expected that. Doesn’t help when the care center changes their policies and now they have to sit with their roommates rather then their friends. (Which we understand, but how come that wasn’t a policy 12 months ago and not just a month ago?) And it’s sad because a few years ago, mom just would have accepted this and figured out how to deal with it.
        Now she’s really feels helpless. She has to know where her call button is at all times, and it doesn’t help that staff is constantly changing and some are better than others.
        Having an ‘Alexa’ really helps; she talks to it all the time. Asks the time frequently, asks what day it is, asks for the weather and news, plus she can call the kids and we can call her, so she’s not dealing with a phone.
        I talked with her this morning and she was really frustrated because her socks were too tight and the aide wouldn’t fix it when he got her dressed and now she can’t find a button to call for help.
        I haven’t been there in a month with my shoulder surgery, but one or another of my siblings is there a couple times / week. And I’ll start going again next week.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. How sad, Ben, I’m so sorry. It breaks my heart to think of what some of our old folks go through in such facilities.

          I wonder how Sandy is holding up in her facility, and how Clyde is getting along. Clyde? Are you there?

          Liked by 2 people

        2. It weighs on me that I will eventually become a burden for my kids. What helps me, and hopefully them, is us acknowledging those issues in advance. Being a whole lot Scandinavian, means being tight lipped about my end of life as though I’ll go on forever. Although person-to-person contact between us has been limited, I have asked for honesty from the kids about anything mentally or physically I should do to improve my quality of life. It’s rather cool that they can online see Mychart. I gave that permission. They, in turn, let me see how THEY are doing.

          Liked by 3 people

        3. my 3 year old grandson is a snapchat guy
          he looks up people in the phone he knows and pushes the button to talk to them
          i wonder if alexia could hook up your mom to her friends and she could just sit a talk to them whenever she or they want

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  7. vinny had the claw thing but it broke off below the shin line and had to be removed like getting declawed. it was on that weird toenail wat up high on the ankle
    left over from a previous period of evolution

    i’m a mean guy regularly as a pet owner as a dad as a grandparent…. if it’s right we can do it easy or hard but we’re gonna do it. no discussion is needed but if you want to talk about it for a minute we can try that

    my daughter gets upset when i hammer my grandson and tell him just do it
    he’s very inquisitive and why is a major theme
    it’s pretty funny
    me being a hard ass

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Yes, I’ve had to resort to the cone of shame on multiple occasions, other forms of torture too, I’m afraid. I even tried putting a cone of shame on a cat. That’s a whole form of adventure that someone could make into a movie.

    When I worked for the DNR in Waterville – a very low point in my life, as you may know – I tried desperately to get out. I had a very sweet, loving little Cavalier King Charles spaniel called Bailey, whom I loved to the moon. He was my comforter spaniel indeed. I applied for and got a two-step promotion in DNR Nongame Wildlife as the Falconry Program Coordinator. I started work in St. Paul, commuting 70 miles one way every day. I had been working two miles from home, came home on lunch breaks and right after work for a walk, so Bailey was accustomed to seeing a lot more of me. Now the days had no break and were often 11 hours long. He didn’t like it. Within the first week he was chewing on his foot. He had soon chewed and licked his paw until the toes split apart, leaving one toe hanging. I applied a thick dressing and left for work. He ate the dressing causing further problems. I applied the cone of shame and left for work. That was too cruel and I returned home to a distraught little dog. I hugged him and hugged him and tried to explain not to chew his foot. I ended up having to quit my prestigious new job and return to the fish hatchery and its all-encompassing variety of hells to prevent my dog from chewing his foot off.

    In 2019 Pippin developed bladder stones and required surgery. I brought him home after the surgery with numerous sutures and staples all around his little manhood. The surgery was extensive and he had a long recovery ahead. I bought him a little protective suit to wear and a cone of shame. They give you a look when you put it on them… “How could you do this to me?” …it almost kills you. I think it’s also true that it causes them to kind of freeze in place or paralyze themselves. They can’t seem to move. He had to wear that until I couldn’t stand it either, then the suit was adequate. I never saw him go for his sutures or staples. I had to cover the living room in plastic sheets and towels because he suffered from urinary frequency with blood and it was almost constant for the first couple of weeks. I didn’t know how hard it would be on him and how long the recovery would take. He’s 12-1/2 years old now. I won’t put him through that again. I keep him on prescription food to prevent the stones from forming.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Wow, these stories about the pets are heart-wrenching! I guess I was lucky never having to deal with more than trying to place a pill on the back of Charlie the Cat’s tongue, and then clamp his jaw closed while he swallowed it.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I am wondering why people refer to those cones as cones of shame? I think that’s a rather unfortunate name, and I don’t use it. To me it puts an unnecessary negative spin on the whole experience of protecting your pet in an already uncomfortable condition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it probably started as a bit of anthropomorphism, imagining dogs having to explain it to other dogs at the dog park…

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  11. Ugh what an ordeal!! When Tallulah had her spay surgery I had to leave the cone of shame on her for well over a week because she wouldn’t stop trying to mess with it. It drove me batty!! Glad your baby is on the mend ❤️‍🩹

    Liked by 1 person

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