Sunday, January 2, 2011


Fr. Pfeiffer’s four o’clock Christmas homily (which he did admirably) mentioned Sebastian (my dog) and I thought it would be nice to be outside at the end of Mass with Sebastian to wish people a Merry Christmas. Then I looked at his leg. He had a bloody spot on it that I have been fighting for a spell and thought better of it. It was not a nice sight.

I tried everything that the internet suggested to do to get him to stop licking this sore and last week I finally threw in the towel and went to the vet. We went through the list of things to try to which I would answer, “Tried it. Tried it. Tried it.”

“There is only one thing left to do,” he said.

“What’s that doctor?”

And in an ominous voice he said, “The Cone of Shame.”

One thing people always said about Sebastian is that he is a noble looking dog. I think he knows it. Even when he relieves himself we have come to say, “N. P.” otherwise known as “noble pee.” He just looks noble no matter what he is doing. So you can give the cone any name you want, dress it up and call it an Elizabethan Collar “I barkest at thee” but it is without a doubt the Cone of Shame and he would be completely humiliated.

We went to the pet store together for him to be fitted. He looked like he was having the time of his life but that is because he has no idea about what is coming. Then the store manager said, “Wait. Before you resort to that, try this spray. It is the worst tasting stuff in the world and it just might work before you resort to the cone.”

“We tried all the sprays. They worked in the past but they are not working this time. First we tried hot sauce and now he begs me for it. Then we tried bitter apple he just laughs at me.”

“Just try this,” he said with a knowing wink. I wonder if he got a commission off the $9 bottle I bought.

This is how I know how the stuff works. We went to the farm on my day away and took off for a long walk in the woods. He ran with reckless abandon and by the time we were heading across the last field back to the barn there were blood marks in the snow from the sore on his leg.

In the barn my farmer friend and I put antibiotics on Sebastian’s leg, bandaged it, and then sprayed it with the stuff I got from the pet store. The problem was that I did not make sure that the spray hole was pointed AWAY from me and TOWARD Sebastian. I hit myself squarely in the mouth. School lunches, boy scout camping meals, seminary cooking, even my own cooking did not prepare me for how bad something could taste. After I screamed I went around saying, “Blah, blah, blah,” and rubbing my mouth with snow.

I finally got it mostly under control, got into my car to go to my sister’s house. But they don’t call mustaches “flavor catchers” for nothing. Driving down the highway some of it would make its way back to my lips again and I would try to spit and wipe it off with the T-shirt I was wearing. That stuff is as hard to get off of your skin as it is to scrub ugly off of an ape.

Almost to my sister’s house it was mostly under control until I wiped my mouth with my sleeve. BIG mistake. Apparently I got it on my shirt sleeve too thereby reapplying the awful tasting stuff to my lips. I ran into the house (I don’t know how Sebastian made it in) and put straight liquid soap on my mouth, scrubbed, and rinsed over and over and over. Everything went into the wash and I took a shower.

My sister came home and we went out to eat. I insisted on Chinese food. We went and I ordered General Tso’s Chicken “as hot as you can possibly make it with hotter sauce on the side.” Anything to kill the taste.

Half way through dinner (which was working by the way) I got a call on my cell. It was my friend at the farm. “Wow!” he said, “That stuff you sprayed on the dog really works!”

“How do you know?” I asked.

“We were having soup for dinner and I licked my fingers afterwards and some of that stuff must have made it onto my fingers! I’ve been blahing around for two hours!”

All I can say is that this better work.
N. B. I am away on retreat this week. I may or may not post. We shall see!


Adoro said...



Can I point out that the DOG is the one who is supposed to taste the stuff, not YOU? lol

I do appreciate your problem, though. When I had my greyhound, dear Fire RIP (you remember him, I think), he had a wound on his leg obtained when we were on a walk. There were other times as well that I needed to keep him bandaged - greyhound skin tears more easily than wet tissue paper and I did NOT want to come home from work to a bloody dog and kennel!

Thankfully I did not have to resort to the cone of shame or bad-tasting things that have dubious value at best. (My GSD, whom I still have, laughed at the bitter apple spray - she bit into the bottle several times, spilling all over the carpet so she could lap it up while I was gone! Brat.)

Greyhounds are muzzled at play so when I adopted him I was given a basket muzzle. I put a plastic stool-guard inside, I think, or maybe the basket was enough to keep him from licking the bandage off.

While I've not looked for basket muzzles for other dogs, that might be an option for you, but it would require some training as some dogs can take them off quite adeptly. But if they can tolerate it, it's more comfortable for them than the cone of shame! (The problem is that some people might think your dog is dangerous so you'll have to do a lot of explaining that the muzzle is for the dog's protection from himself, not to protect anyone else from him!)

Sorry for the novel in your combox, hope you have a wonderful, blessed retreat. Will be praying for you especially.

Karen said...

That is too funny! I suppose you won't make that mistake again.

What is the name of the spray? I could see using it on the diabolical Mr. Furkins for those occasions where he decides that gnawing on his paw until it bleeds is a good way to pass the time.

Michelle said...

I hope the spray works and the retreat is all grace!

Skunk. Skunk tastes awful. Don't ask how I know, but it does have to do with a yellow lab and face full of fur.

Margaret C. said...

Thanks for my chuckle for the day. And I will surely pray that you have a blessed retreat.

maron said...

I bust a gut laughing on this one. My black lab is majestic... there's just an air about her. But when she got skunked, well, let's just say I had an experience similar to Margaret's. The gift that keeps on giving...

maron said...

I bust a gut laughing on this one. My black lab is majestic... there's just an air about her. But when she got skunked, well, let's just say I had an experience similar to Margaret's. The gift that keeps on giving...