Brio was neutered a couple of weeks ago, poor chap. Things went somewhat awry and he ended up very swollen and bruised. I swear it looked like they'd held him down and wrestled the things out with pliers. All dogs act pathetic in a cone, but he was in real pain. We went back to the vet and did what we could for him. I can't imagine what I would be like if you bound me so I couldn't inspect or care for an injury like that inflicted on me. I'd be climbing the walls and protesting loudly. But sweet, slap-happy little Brio accepted it all. He wasn't pleased, and he reminded us frequently of how sad and uncomfortable he was. But really, he accepted the cone and the circumstances, accepted that he couldn't get at the site, and patiently bore all that was inflicted on him. He would lie resignedly on the couch looking like that droopy Pixar lamp. And when we returned yet again to the vet, he bounced in to wag his tail and lick the now familiar faces of the people who had inflicted this on him, not holding any grudges.
There was no way to explain to him what was going on, and that this discomfort would be temporary. For all he knew, he was going to spend the rest of his life in that cone. But he---and I've noticed this in all dogs---didn't spend his time wishing things were otherwise. He coped. He figured out how to eat and drink with the thing on. He accepted that he could no longer fit on the back of the couch or chase balls or hold a bone between his front paws to chew on anymore. He was just in the moment, resigned to that moment, with no anticipation of the future. And Maple, my other dog, accepted without a blink that his friend could no longer play tug-o-war with him.
How often do I spend my time champing away at my restraints, bewailing my fate, howling my disappointment, and protesting discontentedly at my situation? I need to be more like my dog. Riding the moment and waiting to see what happens next, with no expectation, no judgments, only openness.
The cone is off now, he's pretty much healed, and life has resumed its slap-happy pace. He went bounding around the backyard barking his head off for sheer joy. Broadcasting to the dogs of the neighbourhood: The Cone is Off! Repeat, The Cone is Off! I doubt he carries any of his recent patience into the next phase of his life. But I will. I've learned something about Zen from Brio.
Once he had his microchip, we licensed him with the city. And they got his name wrong; they listed him as Biro instead of Brio. Another Italian word. My dog went from being a soft drink to being a beer.
Such is life.