Is that a sad sight or what? Our younger golden retriever, Bobbi, is suffering from what the vet is calling a Hot Spot – a patch of skin just ahead of her right ear that has grown infected and itchy, and she is inadvertently worsening the situation by scratching and rubbing it. (This is also why Bobbi ‘s favorite perch, once again, is the corner of our downstairs bathroom. Lying on the cool base of the toilet feels good. Too bad that she’s chosen a spot that’s also riddled with germs; if one were to look at it under a microscope, you’d see enough microscopic creatures to populate three sci-fi horror films plus a mini-series. So we are under strict orders to keep her out of there.)
Anyway, she is on antibiotics and a steroid but she still fusses with it from time to time, which is keeping it from healing up – which necessitated what we’re calling “The Cone of Shame.” We’re stealing the line from the Pixar film “Up,” which has some dogs in it – one of whom is forced at one point to wear the so-called Cone of Shame for a misdeed he committed. The dog in question, named “Dug,” looks a little bit like a golden retriever and with that same friendly and eager-to-please personality, so the parallel between Dug and Bobbi is a little too close for comfort.
And Bobbi has indeed been inconsolably miserable with her cone, pretty much laying on the floor with this heart-rending “what did I ever do to deserve this?” look on her face. And now taking her outside to do her duty is an undertaking as arduous as the building of the Panama Canal. Well, maybe not quite that bad. Essentially you have to drag or carry Bobbi just to get her out the patio door – and once there, she just sits there, unwilling to take one step down and on to ground – and once you’ve moved her down the step, she is unwilling to move out on to the lawn. She just stands there and looks at you with those big brown eyes, as miserable as miserable can be. Kathy is pretty good at putting a big smile on her face and cajoling her to at least take a couple of timid steps with some squeaky-voiced cheerleading that sounds like something straight out of Romper Room or Barney. Me, I can’t shake off my own miserable feelings and my cheerleading is, at best, half-hearted. I suppose this is what it feels like when you’re a parent and your child has to be given a shot or a big dose of Cod Liver Oil (do people still take that stuff?) It’s a Necessary Unpleasantness, and that’s part of what it means to have kids – or in our case, to have pets. (Although I suspect that people who own hermit crabs or goldfish never have to suffer the pain of having their pet look into their eyes and say – without actually saying it – WHY?