Lin Weeks Wilder

Lin Weeks Wilder

doberman, Dogs, Writing

Seymour’s Cone: Weapon of Mass Destruction

Seymour's cone: Weapon mass destruction
Seymour’s cone: Weapon of mass destruction

Seymour’s Cone: Weapon of Mass Destruction

“Because of the area of surgery, he needs the cone for the entire fourteen days.”

Closing my eyes with inaudible,OH NO!, I said, “Can you imagine him with this thing?” My husband John had started asking just how long we would need to keep this cone on him the second day he wore it…or more accurately, drove it.

“I am sure he is a weapon of mass destruction.”

The minute the question left my mouth, I realized that the vet, Dr. Jane Nibler, could easily imagine this dog weaponizing this thing as he raced everywhere, entirely oblivious to the damage caused by the hard plastic of the cone. After all, she’s worked on his ears twice and now on the other end of his chunky, solid body. Had the fun of letting her coax him back to the treatment room, away from me. She knows the personality of this dog. (By the way, all these procedures in just the three months we have had this Oceano house.)

If you know dogs then you are wondering why he had not needed cones for the prior procedures on his ears. We are all familiar with the joys of dealing with our recovering dogs and their cones.

For each of the ear procedures, I did need to keep Seymour from reopening the laceration on his ear made by his claws. But we were able to get by with those wonderful collars, inflatable ones that don’t wreak havoc by a dog that knows just two speeds. But the collar would not restrict him reaching his derriere, not at all. Ergo this cone.

Okay but haven’t you had to use the plastic cones with your other dogs?

Yes, but all my other dogs have been Dobermans. And although each was twice the size of Seymour, when the cone was on, these big, scary, dangerous Dobermans became tentative, cautious, hesitant, the entire ten or fourteen days…or with Ally’s complicated surgery, three months…. the cone had to be used. And acted like babies. The cone simply diminished and frightened them. An errant crash scared the blazes out of all of them. Convinced that it was only a matter of time before the cone exploded…with them in it.

Monday when I brought him home, Seymour was like that. Dejected, morose does not cut it. Pathetic. But the very next day?

Weapon of mass destruction! I was astounded by the transition from tentative, tenuous to SMASH, BANG, BAM. He had a wonderful time bashing bushes, sidewalks, whatever because he figured out that it won’t hurt him. And has continued that all week.

Seymour’s big personality

Until my friend used that phrase to describe her younger son, Atlas, I had never conceived of a “big personality.” But it graphically describes both Atlas and Seymour (hope you’ll forgive the comparison, Rachel.)

Big personalities fill the room, their presence dominates more than the space they occupy. Seymour makes his presence known, if not with movement then verbally. He talks…well, okay, vocalizes more than almost any other dog I have been around. In fact, John heard him speak Russian

Throughout the entire three hour ride from the rescue shelter in Portola to our house, that dog ‘talked.’ There isn’t another word because he was not barking but made constant sounds….expressions, many varieties of vocalizations. We had never heard anything like that. My husband still speaks of that time Seymour said, “Nyet.”

Perhaps you have heard the expression “velcro dogs?” Meaning they are attached, literally, unhappy unless they are right next to you. All my Dobermans were like that.

So is Seymour. He is not happy unless we are together…close together. When I get up, if he’s behind me, the cone backs up against my leg when I walk in front of him, kind of propelling me forward.

Guess what?

Seymour managed to rub off several sutures so four days after the mass was removed, we got to return to the vet (a new one) for the sutures to be resewn. Another joyful fourteen days with the cone began Saturday.

We now have a new trick: diapers. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to keep him from rubbing that butt on the carpet. Thankfully, he lets me put them on after each outing and they are working! He is not rubbing at all.

I won’t show you another picture though. I think even Seymour’s irrepressible personality may be dampened if I were to take a picture of him in diapers and post it on the internet.

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Lin Wilder

Lin Wilder has a doctorate in Public Health from the UT Houston with a background in cardiopulmonary physiology, medical ethics, and hospital administration. 

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