Sophie the pug woke me up this morning scratching her left ear, and panting.
This is a regular occurrence when you live among the coneheads, those dogs with allergies. Fawn pugs seem to be most vulnerable to the call of the mould that has laid dormant under the patches of ice in our backyard.
Sophie's allergies are the worst I've encountered as a pug whisperer.
She spends nearly her entire life under the big blue cone, one that extends to twice the size of her face. She's graduated from the smaller, clear cone thanks to her pug predilection for increased girth despite the fact she's been on a strict diet of salmon or duck laced kibble that costs a King's ransom, but fortunately can be found at Costco for half the price.
The blue cone is causing her problems. She can't get up the stairs without it catching so I've often founded her flailing about at the bottom of the front stairs, under the watchful and, I swear, amused eye of Finnigan. She's reverted to a puppy-like state, afraid of the daunting climb of six steps and so we're forced to carry her up into the living room, with Sophie fighting tooth and nail.
I, too, am a victim of the cone. I have cuts on the back of my leg where she butts me, nearly taking down my legs in the process. She also scrapes the cones on my body during the night, trying to calm her chronic face itch.
The only remedy is the dreaded red pill, the Benadryl which is nearly impossible to administer to a dog which has the mouth of a cartoon character. After claiming victory after shoving the tiny pills down her throat, I am often humbled in the morning to find the pill remnants under foot, or in my sock drawer, where it has been flung in a spray of saliva.
The cone stays on for weeks at a time to save her poor ear which she has scratched so viciously that it appears she's turned into a punk rocker with an ear gauge the size of a grape. When it's finally healed, she can roam the world coneles but for only a time.
A few days back, we were relieved to find her wound had healed, so finally we -- Scott, me, Finnigan and Sophie -- have been able to sleep in relative peace.
Last night, I discovered that she had scratched the inside of her ear instead of the outside, an obvious clandestine approach to hide her nocturnal activity. I grabbed her at 3 a.m. and shoved a pill down her gullet but alas, there was no end in sight for her panting and weaving.
So I took her to the leather couch with its calming coolness and she was finally able to sleep.
I, however, laid awake the rest of the night.
Chronic after-the-event insomnia.
It is the curse of pug lovers everywhere.
Today, we return to life among the coneheads.
I'm thinking of getting shin pads and a helmet to protect me from its wrath.