Tucker and the Cone: The worst times can bring out the best in dogs and cats

Sad Tucker has to wear a cone.

Sad Tucker

Tucker has a problem with his left front leg. Could be a hot spot. Could be a lick granuloma. (More about that in a later post.) Either way, the dog needs to wear a cone to keep him from licking it.

It’s one of those terrier things: when you do something, you do it incessantly. Like play ball until your tongue hits the ground (or mom refuses to throw it anymore). Or dig nests in the family room sofa every single night. Or lick your leg raw because it’s a bit itchy.

For a peripatetic (always wanted to use the word) dog like Tucker, a cone can be a real drag. Literally. It scrapes along the floor, bangs into walls, gets caught on chairs. Our pooch soldiers on, doing the best he can; he continues to bring his beloved ball or his favorite stuffed chicken to me for a game of fetch.

2 out of 3 dogs surveyed think the cone is funny.

2 out of 3 dogs surveyed think the cone is funny.

It’s sad, though, and you can tell it wears on him.

What’s interesting is to watch how the other family members react to our coned canine.

Jasper, who seems to think Tucker is a pesky younger brother, would normally get up and move when the Tuckster lays down next to him. But I think Jasper feels sorry for him, and lets him stay closer than normal.

Jasper keeping Tucker company on the deck

Jasper keeping Tucker company on the deck

Lilah, who is doctor and mother wrapped up in a black Border Collie package, is also sympathetic. She’ll actually snuggle up to him.

Lilah tries to make Tucker feel better.

Lilah tries to make Tucker feel better.

One could say that those behaviors are expected of dogs. They’re pack animals, social creatures who are known to be able to pick up on subtle cues to the physical and emotional states of others.

But our cat Calvin’s reaction is a little more unusual.

Two years ago, when Tucker had to wear a cone for a while, Calvin seemed to understand that it made Tucker sad. Back then, I watched the cat lean into the cone and groom the dog.

Like last time, Calvin seemed very interested in Tucker’s cone these past few days. But it’s more than curiosity. Yesterday afternoon, I turned from my desk to head downstairs and I found the cat curled up next to Tucker.

There was a little bit of sun shining on him, but that wasn’t the only reason Calvin was there. More expansive sun puddles were only a few steps away in the hall.

Believe what you will, but I think Calvin was offering comfort to his brother.

I picked up my camera and caught a few moments of interspecies kindness.

It’s days like this that make life with dogs and cats so awesome.

"I know the cone is a drag."

“I know the cone is a drag.”

Calvin rubs Tucker's cone.

“I like rubbing it, but I have a feeling you don’t care.”

Calvin checks on Tucker

“You okay in there?”

Calvin looking at Tucker who has to wear a cone.

“I guess you’re tired.”

Calvin next to Tucker, who has to wear a cone.

“That’s okay. I’ll keep watch.”

How do your pets act when you or another family member is under the weather?

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10 Comments on "Tucker and the Cone: The worst times can bring out the best in dogs and cats"

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  1. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    dood…..sorree bout de cone oh shame ~~~~~ but itz way awesum yur familee memburrz iz lookin out for ya….ya noe !!!

    heerz two an eeltail catfish kinda week oh end ♥♥♥

  2. Peyton says:

    I agree with you. I do believe animals can sense trouble and discomfort and will react positively.

  3. Emma says:

    Cones are awful! I never wanted one, so when I had surgery and needed one, Mom taught me the no lick command. Amazingly, I figured out if I licked I wore the cone, if I didn’t, no cone. I learned it fast and use it a lot in every day dog life. Hope the cone can come off you soon.

  4. I definitely believe our animals know when the other is not feeling well. Bentley alerted us twice when there was trouble. Once when our Golden fell and was tangled in a berry bush and another time when Pierre escaped under the fence. They know. I love how your gang is so supportive. ♥

  5. Oh I had to wear a cone one time. I hated it! And scared the beejesus out of Wally. He hissed and hissed at me. I hope Tucker doesn’t have to wear it for long. ~Ernie

  6. meowmeowmans says:

    Oh, this is just sweet. LOVE how your babies show their love and concern. 🙂

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