Jane Gor­don

Age un­known Mother, grand­mother and 24/7 child­min­der

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - MUM AND ME -

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

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