Story: Oh, Brother!

When Tucker split his toenail, leaving the sensitive quick exposed, he was sentenced to several days wearing the dreaded Cone of Shame. Ever the terrier, he didn’t let it stop him from doing most of the things he loves (and was allowed) to do, including chewing  a bone, with my help.

When he came back from the vet–the first time–Jasper and Lilah swirled around Tucker, performing a thorough examination of their brother. The cats drifted around his legs, their delicate noses twitching with the uncomfortable memories triggered by Vet Smell.

It wasn’t just Tucker that wished the cone would disappear. Tucker banged around the house, knocking into chairs, banging into the backs of my knees, and once almost scooping up tiny Elsa Clair, who meowed her irritation and fled upstairs.

After a few days, they we all learned to deal with the cone; it was part of Tucker now.

Except for Calvin.

He was fascinated by the cone, and would find ways to investigate it.

Cat looks in dog's cone

You are in my space, Bro.

Sometimes he stuck his head all the way inside.

Cat's head inside dog's cone

Really in my space.

Tucker, who is one who loves to cuddle real close with his dog and human family, is usually a little wary of the cats. When he’s in our bedroom and his feline siblings walk in, he’ll slowly get up from his preferred spot on the bed, jump to the floor and army crawl his way underneath, squeezing himself into the darkness.

If I were to guess, this precaution is related to the Ambush the Dog game Miss Athena plays when the mood strikes her. Positioning herself on the corner of the family room table, she waits for Tucker to walk by in an attempt to get someone to throw his Ball. If he gets close enough, she delivers a formidable hiss/swat combination. The dog is stymied, unable to engage in his favorite activity. Tucker proceeds with caution when the cats are around.

Now here was Calvin. In. His. Space.

Cat in dog's cone

About as in his space as one can get.

Tucker seemed a little concerned, but Calvin is the one among the cats that truly seems to like the dogs. He’ll curl up next to them, rub their heads when he can reach.

One night, Tucker was feeling a little sad; he was uncomfortable, it was raining, I had tied a plastic bag around his foot when we went outside, and he couldn’t play Ball. 

Cat in dog's cone

Calvin jumped up on the ottoman, and leaned in far enough to reach Tucker’s head.

Cat in dog's cone
He buried his nose in the dog’s scruffy fur.  Then, he slipped his tiny pink tongue out of his little cat mouth and began grooming him. Tucker closed his eyes, appreciating the the thoughtful attention.

Cat in dog's cone

Let others say I was reading too much into this action. But I know Calvin was showing love for his brother.

Cat in dog's cone


Do your pets know when someone in the family–canine, feline, human or other–is sick or sad? How do you know? How do they show their love and concern?


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22 Comments on "Story: Oh, Brother!"

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  1. slimdoggy says:

    Sweet story. None of our dogs have ever paid much attention to each other – they are all kind of loners, but Jack did show some concern last week when Maggie was getting her acupuncture.

  2. Oh that is so sweet, a feline nurse!! I hope you’re feeling better now buddy and the cone has gone!

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

    • Thanks! We had to go back to the vet, because Tucker injured his paw again. But the vet we saw this time said no more cone. So Mr. Tucker is much happier. We just need to keep the foot clean and give him antibiotics…and some pain meds so he stops licking. He was feeling better last night and was trying to play ball again.

  3. Those are the cutest photos!

  4. Flea says:

    Awwww. I love how the cone has changed your family dynamic! That’s great! I don’t think you’re reading too much into it at all.

  5. There’s beauty in that brotherly love! So sweet…animals can be so in tune with each other and their humans.

    • Some pets are more attuned than others, but I think Calvin is one who pays attention. And even though Tucker was on the receiving end this time, and even though he is normally a very silly terrier, he is also the first one on the scene when he thinks someone needs a hug. And in Tucker’s world, a hug is when you climb on someone’s lap (he’s too big to be a lap dog, but he doesn’t know that) and lean into their shoulder.

  6. I don’t think the dogs pay much attention to sickness. Mr. N still wants to be walked when I’m sick. He does however use the cone as a weapon. He’ll headbutt you with his cone on to show his displeasure at having to wear it. Who says dogs can’t use tools?

  7. Not always, but often when I have a migraine, my two dogs will just come and lie down with me. They give up chasies, barking, playing, and sunshine, and cuddle up. One time they slept on the bed in the afternoon with me for four hours without disturbing me at all – and these are two dogs who usually vie for pats at all times.

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