Age unknown Mother, grandmother and 24/7 childminder
If you had asked me – just a couple of weeks ago – what the term ‘Cone of Shame’ meant, I would have guessed that it had something to do with the pointy-shaped dunce’s caps that were once used to humiliate schoolchildren who couldn’t add up (or subtract). But I have discovered during one of the more stressful fortnights of my recent life that I would have been wrong.
Because the phrase, taken from the Pixar film Up, actually describes the huge protective plastic collar that canines wear after an operation. In the movie, a talking dog called Dug is put in just such a collar and states, ‘I do not like the Cone of Shame.’ And my one-year-old mutt Zorro – could he but talk – would be the first to agree, after spending two whole weeks collared up following surgery to remove a tumour from his left eye.
The emergency operation was traumatic enough for him (and me) without the addition of this contraption that further restricted his world (and mine). Quite apart from the fact that he had to be hand-fed and watered, he was also – due to the fact that the cone extended a full foot in front of his nose – denied the scent of a bitch, a lamp post or his best chum Kobi. Worse, he spent the entire time (day and night) on the end of a lead held by an owner who, frankly, couldn’t remember feeling quite so overprotective (OK, neurotic) since her first child was born.
Bryony the firstborn, needless to say, had little sympathy for my – or Zorro’s – distress, openly suggesting (to make me laugh, I think) that maybe it would be ‘kinder to put him out of his misery’. She has also nicknamed him ‘Bullseye’ (after Bill Sikes’s dog in Oliver Twist). But thankfully, as I write this
(a day after the sutures came out and the cone came off), he is waiting to be taken out for a walk with Kobi, during which he will, with renewed pleasure, frequently ‘stop to smell the roses’ (and lamp posts and bitches).
I can’t remember feeling so overprotective since the birth of my first child