Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Woeful Tale of the Tail

April 17, 2011

It’s been a rough week.
The first two weeks home with Flo weren’t easy, but nothing was a surprise. Flo and I took small walks in the neighborhood every day, with the only real problem being her hyperactive sniffer and exuberance. She settled into our home easily enough. Because a new dog is always on leash or tie-down, she and Tuscan haven’t really played independently together, but already love one another.
Then, Monday, April 11, everything changed. Getting out of the car in our garage, I somehow closed the door on her tail! It was so horrible. She was out of the car and behind me. Then, I turned around to close the door and, somehow, her tail was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’ll never forget her scream.
The vet said the good news is no break. But the tail is badly lacerated – all right at the very end. She got four staples and a bandage. It turned out that was just the beginning.
By Tuesday, she had torn off the bandage. We then got an e-collar. I’d never had one of these before, but it looks sort of like an upside-down lampshade on her head. (My editor at the Dispatch called it “the cone of shame” taken from some movie.) That’s exactly what it seems to be, because Flo has been completely depressed since getting it. By Thursday, she had torn the bandage off again – an impressive feat with cone and all – so the vet put six inches of fabric around her neck, thus moving the e-collar forward, so that she can’t get her nose around it.
She has – twice now – and is then in even more pain, crying till it breaks the heart of her human.
Each time the bandage comes off, she then sprays blood with every wag, so that my stairway and kitchen repeatedly look like crime scenes.
Still, 95 percent of the time, she just lies on her rug, dejected, and very un-Flo-like.
The instructors at Guide Dogs assure me that she’ll bounce back, that the first priority is healing the tail which means keeping on the collar. Meanwhile, I worry about her forgetting everything she knows while the healing takes place.


  1. I'm so sorry it's been a rough start for the two of you. Hopefully, it will be an amusing story to tell after you've been working together for many years to come. Sounds like you've probably gotten through the worst of it, the first week plus. Hope you both heal quickly!

  2. Oh, poor Flo. I agree with Mimi. Hopefully it'll be one of those funny stories you can tell at parties. :) Hope the healing goes smoothly and quickly.