The Cone of Shame

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

There’s nothing quite so pathetic as a dog who has to wear “the cone of shame.” If you’ve seen the movie “Up” you know what I’m talking about. It’s that huge, Elizabethan collar device meant to keep a pet from licking or scratching at some medical anomaly – could be a rash, could be stitches.

Our older dog, Cali, is presently wearing the “cone of shame” because of recent eye surgery. Believe me, she knows she looks stupid. She keeps glaring at me with a “You did this to me,” stare. I tried to explain that I didn’t know the cone would be a necessary part of her recovery, but she doesn’t seem to believe me. She thinks I planned with the vet to humiliate her.

The first night home she’d obviously not worked out all the anesthesia and spent the evening walking into walls. Not only walking into them, but then standing in front of them as if she could miraculously move them with her doggy brain. Spatial relations seemed to be a foreign concept to her as well. Used to walking through doorways without any problem, she’d start through only to have the cone catch on the threshold. She’d stop in her tracks for several minutes again trying to move the threshold instead of her head. I won’t even try to describe her walking outside in the snow, other than to comment that the cone makes an excellent scoop.

Now that the anesthesia has worn off, she’s back to her ornery self. Instead of stopping when the cone gets stuck on something, she shifts her head and pushes through whatever obstacle is in her way. She’s always been fond of sleeping under our nightstand. I would have thought it impossible to get a two foot “head” into a foot wide space, but she keeps shoving her head around until the cone collapses enough for her to get through. This is done with much scraping, grunting and bumping- often in the middle of the night. 2:00 a.m. seems to be a favorite time.

I’ve been thinking how she and I are alike. You see, when she first came home with the cone, she got frustrated with bumping into things and so waited until I stood in front of her and led her into the next room or through the door to the outside. She was glad to keep her eyes on me so she wouldn’t get hurt. In my own life, I know things are easier when I choose to follow God’s voice and daily seek His will. But just like my dog, I get stubborn and want to go back to old habits or follow my own path.

Several verses in Proverbs 16 warn us about trying to do things our own way and the blessings that come when we follow God’s way. In the big scheme of things, I’d rather wear a “cone of shame,” than follow a path that “leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25). Sometimes a little humiliation is just what we need to keep us on the right track.

About Kim Stokely

Kim Stokely has toured throughout the country in a one-person musical about women in the Bible. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and a variety of creatures including: two teenagers, two dogs, a parakeet and a legless lizard. Her stories have been printed in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Vista, and Writers’ Journal and she invites you to visit her website @ to read her award winning short story, Bingo.


One Response to “The Cone of Shame”
  1. Julie S says:

    I watched Cali in her cone of shame – it was quite pathetic. Great read, Kim!

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