I've heard that there are parties where some of the more boisterous guests get so carried away in celebration that they don a lampshade, dance unsteadily about, and expect attention and applause for their shenanigans.
Poor old Minor has been sentenced to ten days with his "lampshade." It's officially - and properly - called an "Elizabethan collar" though that would seem to make even less sense than "lampshade." Most know what a dog owner refers to with the latter term. And when I telephoned various doggie establishments, I only encountered one cold reply: "We don't sell furniture."
By any term it's a modern form of torture (if you ask me). Designed to prevent the dog's chewing at a wound or, in Minor's case, stitches from minor surgery, it also prevents the dog from doing much of anything.
Well, not Minor.
I confess I expected the worst. So bad, in fact, I had made "iffy" arrangements to board him if the strain got to be too much ... for me.
I did not know my dog for there has not been one single moment of complaint. By that I mean, no whining, no excessive digging or picking at the collar.
That is not to say he likes it. Not for a minute. But he accepts it as I guess we might accept a second head were one to suddenly appear on our shoulders.
His sight is extremely limited. It's straight ahead or not at all. I was surprised this also affects eating for Minor cannot see what's at the tip of his nose.
It also affects eating because the food is unreachable unless the bowl is INSIDE the cone. That often means somebody has to hold the food bowl inside the shade for him. Me. Same with drinking. (Sorry - I'm not digressing back to parties; let's stick with water.) A small bowl ultimately solved that problem as much as anything could. And toilets still work.
The collar definitely affects his hearing. I imagine it must be like living in an echo chamber for the shield is made of heavy plastic.
Worst for us both is his sudden lack of perfect vision.
Minor walks into everything. The house resounds with nearly constant thunks. Furniture, doors, walls, even me. Especially, it seems, me.
Minor had a natural tendency to walk at a sharp "heel" on my left. Keeping close now means that lampshade bonks me at just about every step. Worse, if he feels the need to find me or join me, he rushes up. Clunk - I marvel that my legs are not solid bruises. (Or do I just forget to look?)
Doors can be a major challenge. He had reveled in his new dog door. Pretty nifty, I agreed, for he could freely come and go at any time. That's impossible now until the collar goes so it's up and down again, searching for the widest possible door to make egress as easy as I can.
Still, stairs are even worse. Minor handles all those challenges with aplomb and continues to follow me every time I walk down to the basement but he finds getting back up next to impossible. At one point I thought he might be permanently stuck down there but we've apparently worked out an agreeable partnership.
He takes a step or two, finds his collar stuck on the next riser and stops, waiting. I raise it enough for him to continue. One step. Maybe more. Then, turning sideways or somehow making a rush for it, he races back up to the top.
I'm happy to rub his belly anytime he'll nestle close and give him an extra pat every chance I get.
In the meantime, he unsticks himself from my chair, catches on the next one and then the door before wandering off. I hear the diminishing whacks and smile.
These days will soon be over. The countdown continues until the stitches are out and he's free of this blasted contraption once and for all.
Then I'll think of those thumps and be grateful for the good humor that got us both through what could have been a very trying time. (And my legs will heal.)
Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org