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Walkin'

Buzz’s head is still circled by a cone.
The sore on his paw is reduced in size but not gone, so the old hound still can’t be trusted not to lick it. We got the largest cone available, about six feet in diameter at its broadest point, but that wasn’t big enough. Buzz still managed to get his tongue on the sore, something that only makes it worse. Some people put bumper stickers on their cars bragging about their kid making all state or the honor roll; I think I’ll get one that reads “My dog can out-lick your dog.”
Sabra engineered an extension using a second cone and packing tape. With careful use of a scissors, she cut a three-inch band of plastic from one, and then carefully taped it to the other. Workers on the space shuttle couldn’t have put it together more diligently. Every edge, inside and out, had an expertly laid strip of packing tape pressed down on it with nary a wrinkle to be found. The finished product measured out to near eight feet in diameter. Buzz pouted at first when we put it on but accepted the indignity without too much of a fuss. I feared he may go berserk and scramble around like a bull in a china shop, but Buzz merely shook his head a couple of times, and then slunk to his bed with a woeful aura.
Besides its intended purpose, the cone has a couple of side affects. For one thing it limits his peripheral vision. Since he was bred as a sight as well as a scent hound, Buzz has great vision – in his day the wink of a squirrel’s eye at 300 yards would set him into a frenzy. I think he still sees as well now but his get up and go has gone off and went enough times in his life.
While the cone doesn’t restrict his view out the window, it does limit him when Pearl pounces on him from the back, with her best Labradoodle smile, to initiate play. Luckily, Buzz has an island of refuge in our bed so he’s spending even more of his time on it snoozing.
As I mentioned in a previous column, shortly after Buzz was sentenced to the wearing of the cone we took off for a week to visit Denver. Although I hated to leave Buzz in his time of trouble, I rationalized that it was probably just as well: when we’re gone he just lays about anyway.
Things went off pretty much as planned with a couple exceptions. Buzz’s sore appears to be healing but he’s not out of the woods yet. Although he’s been in the cone for a week he really hasn’t made much of an adjustment while wearing it. When he climbs the stairs, for example, the cone still gets stuck on each and every step. You’d think he’d learn, but I guess he just doesn’t understand what’s going on. This make my heart go out to him all the more.
Besides bumping into the stairs, the cone also whacks doorframes and other obstacles each and every time he walks by. A small cabinet Sabra built to hold potatoes and onions completed imploded after being knocked over for the umpteenth time.
But it’s an ill wind that blows no good, and the cone has brought a windfall for Pearl. For years Sabra has been keeping the dog food in the bottom drawer of an old wooden cabinet. It’s very convenient: slide open the drawer, scoop out the kibble and close. Until now it’s been tight enough fitting that none of the animals have every tried to open it for themselves. The lip of the cone, however, catches the edge of the drawer just enough when Buzz walks by to open it a crack. Pearl soon learned to exploit this small breach in security and turn it into a free shot at the food while no one is looking.
Buzz has trouble going through doorways because of the cone; soon she’ll be too fat to get through.