Cashew’s Cone

So, Cashew’s surgery went well. Everything they encountered was routine and the vet called me afterwards to tell me she was doing fine and in recovery. I was super relieved. They told me i could come pick her up. I immediately reminded them that they were boarding her for two extra days after the surgery, an expense that was absolutely necessary as far as i was concerned. They told me i was welcome to pay for a couple extra days of boarding but they didn’t see a need for it as they were sure she would be lethargic and sedentary while in pain during recovery. I laughed; like out-loud. I knew Cashew. I’d raised her since she was 5 lbs; small enough to be held with one hand. 1. She had the energy of the bunny with the drumset from that incredibly redundant battery commercial. 2. She had the highest threshold for pain of anyone i’d ever known. 3. She had absolutely zero survival instinct. Throw all those things together with a set of brand new internal and external stitches and i would have had a blood bath on my hands. I knew better than they when it came to Cashew. Getting her to the point where her stitches healed up would turn out to be one of those sanity shredding periods of my life. When i picked her up they said, “No running, jumping, or twisting for 14 days.” When she saw me Cashew ran away from the vet tech, jumped on me in her excitement, and then flopped on the ground, twisting her body to roll over for a belly scratch. I pointed, “that stuff. That stuff that she just did…that’s all the stuff she’s going to be too lethargic to do at home?” The staff scratched their heads. They showed me how to lift her by gathering her legs against my arms and pressing inwards as i lifted her without using my hands or reaching under her belly. As i predicted, given more space than a few feet, she rolled, leapt, twisted, and head-butted anything in sight. She was immediately crated and unfortunately only let out for bathroom breaks until her stitches healed. I tried a couple times just to let her be free range in the house. I even locked her sister up to let her do it. She still found reasons to be wild and crazy. Fuzz, a spider, the shadow of the windchimes through the window… She could not be left out of my sight for a moment and i could not get anything done. So, back in the crate she went.

Sili had become very bonded to Cashew while they were boarded together during my trip. They had stayed in the same cage and all they had in that noisy sterile place was each other. I had hoped the familiar presence of their sibling would cause them to grow closer while i was out of state. Sili was already quite the little empath. She sensed Cashew’s misery during the confinement period with the cone on her head. During the moments i did let her out of her crate for a bit Sili tried her very best to comfort her sister and provide moral support.

Having a cone on her head did not make her any more careful or less accident prone. She would still leap off the porch steps. Now she was just doing it blind. She would still run through the yard. Now she was just in danger of breaking her neck as she hit the ground with the cone during each stride. She was still a bull in a china shop. She was just more blind and less coordinated. It would have been comical if i wasn’t so busy trying to save her from herself. Depending on what hour of the morning it was i either laughed or cried when i thought of how the veterinary staff all thought Cashew would be guarded and careful in response to pain and stitches. They had never met an aussie. Careful was not in her vocabulary and as for guarded…aussies guard plenty of things; property, livestock, humans… when it came to injuries, i tried to explain it to people in terms they would understand… i would say to them, “think of an aussie as a pro football player or a bering sea crab fisherman.” Aussies were also known for being very intelligent and having excellent problem solving skills. For the sake of truthfulness i should probably mention that Cashew figured out how to turn her plastic cone so that she could wedge her teeth in the part that clipped together and pop it open. She also figured out that if she just pressed hard enough with her head she could get the cone to bend and she could see and reach the thing she was originally going after. She was exhausting.

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