Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cinder Gets a Life Preserver!

This week the big event has been Cinder getting spayed.  It's been a normal spay procedure and her recovery is going well. However, if you ask Cinder, this week has already been quite an ordeal, "DANG E-COLLAR!"  And I think that would be the very cleaned up version of what she'd say about it!  Cinder's version of being spayed would probably be synopsized like this:  "Help!!! I'm trapped in this nasty, puppy head-eating, cone thing and I can't get free!!!"  I'm not sure to what extent she even realizes the vets altered her life-uh-her ability to create life.  I'm not sure that part even matters.  What has mattered is wearing the E-COLLAR.  
Head over the back seat on the way home.

When we brought her home Monday evening, Cinder was still groggy so we didn't think much about her not wanting to walk through the house.  In fact, she was so wobbly and groggy we were glad she didn't want to be mobile. However, yesterday morning came and the "Little Criminal" (refer to the hearing aid theft, chewing, and distribution of stolen property last week) still wouldn't attempt more than two steps.  She had a bad time adapting to the device around her head and neck.  We took the cone off to put her on her leash for potty time and the minute the cone came off, our bouncy trouncy jumping bean was instantly herself; prancing her way out to potty.  We came in and reapplied the cone. Again, no matter what we did, she was not going to walk with that collar on.  I can't say I blame her much because she can't see well through it and it's huge so she smacks everything with it which startles her.

I told Brian that we needed to just let her work it out for herself. If we left her alone, ultimately she'd make her way through the house to be with us.  That wasn't true. Nope. Not a chance in a million. Not moving. Instead, she stood there until she wobbled so much, she plopped down and howled.  It was an amazingly impressive, loud, and sorrowful howl-the kind that reminds me of, "The Call of the Wild." That continued for about an hour, non-stop.  I think Gilley and Buzz sort of rubbed salt in her wounds by ignoring her.  On one hand, I was kind of glad the E-collar seemed to immobilize the Little Criminal so she wouldn't jump; on the other, she needed some mobility without us carrying her.

When it was bed time, I was concerned about where Cinder should sleep.  She doesn't fit in her crate with the collar on; and her space is a long narrow hallway.  I didn't want to be far away from her in case she got sick or needed to potty.  Without my hearing aids, I hear nothing, so I didn't know quite how to handle bedtime. She slept on the bed with me.  She, Gilley, and Buzz all layed on the bed with me while Brian slept on the pull-out.  All was well-until she fell off the bed at 3:30AM!  She'd evidently rolled over too close to the edge and fell off.  I jumped up and ran around to see her laying still tummy down, on all four; and when I spoke her name, her tail wagged.  Luckily, she was fine but I was paranoid about her being on the bed and that made me feel worse. Lesser of all evils is the bed, so that's where she returned after a trip out to potty and get a drink. Without further incident, we all awoke for the start of our day a little late.

 Yesterday (Tuesday), Cinder repeated the same behaviors of not moving with the E-collar on. Left alone, she stood until she couldn't and again plopped down, howling the whole time.  I'd had enough.  Cinder is a little Cookie Monster, always willing to do ANYTHING for a "cookie." Training time!  I decided to teach her how to walk through the house with the E-collar on by luring her from one end to the other using her favorite training cookies.  She'd go pretty well for a few steps and then she'd start wobbling and stop.  I gave her about 5-10 seconds and bribed her forward with another cookie.  After that, the E-collar no longer caused immobility.  She finally understood she really COULD move with that collar on.

With mobility no longer in question, the new problem Cinder encountered was trying to get close to or play with the boys.  She'd get close and bonk them with the collar, which highly annoyed the boys and caused them enough grief that they kept leaving the area.  She'd follow and again, they'd tire of being whacked with the collar and leave.  She came to me, plopped down and if puppies pout, I'm telling you there was serious pouting!  In her world I'm sure it was akin to, "Everybody hates me, nobody loves me, might as well eat worms."  As the day progressed, she became more adept at maneuvering with the collar on.  The boys still gave her a wide berth so she was utterly bored and slept a lot - a good thing anyway.  Finally, during the evening, she
began trying to put the collar over the boys' heads and play.  Gilley would have none of that! Buzz let her do it several times, seeming to understand her need to interact. Even so, a few minutes of it was all Buzz could take and he began grumping at her and finally left.

Poor Cinder.  Can't play, can't eat, can't do anything with that nasty collar on.  At that point, I thought to look up inflatable E-collars, but none of the local pet stores had her size on hand and the prices were pretty outrageous for something I only plan on using once on a puppy.  However, I got to looking at the inflatable e-collar designs and thought, "I could make a stuffed version out of denim!"  If I could make one that would work, it would allow her to see, play, eat, drink and NOT lick her stitches.  An hour later, I'd made one out of scraps from a trashed pair of jeans.  

Today, Cinder's worn the homemade stuffed E-collar and been quite a lot happier. It looks a like a denim life preserver, but it seems to work. She's been doing more today so we've had to keep a close eye on her, but the homemade collar provides her the freedom of moving around easily to enjoy a more normal way of life without the clatter of banging into everything.  I won't let her sleep in it overnight-the clunky plastic E-collar needs to be on at night because I don't want to leave her in a stuffed fabric collar all night unsupervised.

Otherwise, she isn't allowed to run, jump, wrestle the boys as is her normal life, but she's able to play a little bit with her toys.  The boys are at least able to be close by without being whacked with the collar and I she's glad for their closer proximities.  I'm glad too because she can come sit beside me and be close without whacking me either! I've sort of missed her nose-bumping my leg and sitting beside me when she wants something. The bonus is that the walls and furniture aren't suffering her "wrath of the collar" either.  When she no longer needs an E-collar, I can reclaim the stuffing and buckle.  Come to think of it, maybe that little stuffed collar really is Cinder's life preserver right now.

It's all just more adventure and learning in our daily life journey as we continue raising Cinder.


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