Posted by: ritagone | February 11, 2015

What the Dog Doesn’t “Get”



Last week our little Havanese female dog Watson had surgery: she had her teeth cleaned, and the vet suggested that as long as she was being put under with anesthesia anyway, he remove an umbilical hernia that she has had since birth and which is getting a bit bigger every year.

Made sense to us — one dose of anesthesia instead of two — so we agreed. So of course she came home later that afternoon with stitches from the surgical procedure…and wearing the infamous cone of shame, which is what people refer to that round plastic thing that goes around a dog’s neck and prevents them from licking or otherwise disturbing their stitched up wounds.

The cone of shame effectively does its job, all right, because she can’t reach the stitches on her belly while wearing it. But there are side effects, such as bumping into doors and walls because her spatial differential is all off. Or being unable to eat her dog food in her usual bowl, because, well, the cone of shame and her snout don’t fit so well together. (We fixed that problem by feeding her in a square pyrex baking dish, on the carpet in my office so it doesn’t slide all over the place, which works quite well.) Sleeping was problematic until she learned how to “lay it down” so she could put her head on it comfortably and use it like a plastic pillow.

You can tell it’s not comfortable. She makes several attempts a day to outrun it.

And we have no way to communicate to her that it’s temporary, only for one more week, and then off it comes, when the stitches have been removed by the vet and all is deemed well and healed.

I wonder if in her little doggie brain the thought that goes through her mind is this: this is it; I’m going to be wearing this thing for the rest of my life? She has no idea that it is soon to disappear and life will return to normal. And I wonder if this is depressing for her, to contemplate life in this uncomfortable situation forever?

(Just speculating about what goes through a dog’s mind is quite entertaining, mind you. Try it sometime.)

Then it occurred to me that often we are like Watson toward God. We don’t have any concept of God getting us out of a situation we’re in, as if the cone of shame will be around our necks forever. We too often can’t see beyond our present circumstances.

Poor Watson. There’s something pathetic about the fact that she must – in her little canine brain – assume that this is the way her life is from now on. She doesn’t understand that it’s temporary, that in a week, now, the cone will come off and she will resume normal life. To her, her life has changed for the worse forever. No hope or help in sight.

Poor humans when we think or feel that way. Hopeless, helpless, with that symbolic cone of shame around our necks forever.

As if God has left us in this predicament and doesn’t care enough about us to do anything about solving the problem.

Shame on me when I think this way. A dog doesn’t have the reasoning capabilities that a human has. Or the faith. So Watson has a good excuse.

What’s my excuse when I fail to trust God to work things out in my life?

What’s yours?


Watson & cone


  1. Hi Rita. Hope all is going well with you and with CA in general. We miss you guys and life seems a little strange without our CA family.

    Thanks for your post today. It really spoke to me. Bill is currently at the specialist as his count has jumped for prostate. It looks like he will have to have an operation. Please pray for him. I am not sure how he feels as like most guys he doesn’t share that a lot. I am trusting God that He will work it out.

    Lots of love.


    • Hi, Tina. So good to hear from you. Of course I will be praying for Bill and for you. Thank you so much for telling me; I will be with about 20 CA leaders next week, so if it’s okay with you, I’ll share with them what’s happening with you guys, because I know they’ll want to pray too. Please keep us informed. We love you two. Thank you for reading my blog and sharing your life with me a bit; it’s wonderful to re=connect with you.

  2. You’ve captured a core truth with a sweet word picture! Thanks for the reminder…my grandmother always said, “This, too, shall pass.” We need to keep this perspective before us.

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