Dog Days of the Dreaded Cone

Jody Burns and dog, Scout. Photo by Mia Cervantes

One Stillwater woman and her dog made lemonade out of lemons this summer by turning two weeks in a cone into fun dress-up days. Jody Burns said she found her dog, Scout, on a Payne County Facebook page in December 2012 when he was nine weeks old. “We’ve been inseparable ever since,” she said.

Summer is a slow time for Jody’s work when she and Scout enjoy extra daytime fun. This summer, however, Scout’s play sent the two on a new adventure. “Scout was chasing a rabbit around our area the morning of July 13th when he split the webbing between two of his toes. I couldn’t stop the bleeding, so I took him to our vet at Perkins Road Pet Clinic. Dr. Bradshaw had to cauterize the wound and put in 15-20 stitches. Scout was given a cone to wear for two weeks. I’d heard stories of dogs really struggling with the cone, and I was determined to make the most of it,” said Jody.

The first day in the cone was rough for Scout, but he started showing signs of his normal high spirits on day two when he caught a ball in the cone. He was prescribed medication twice a day and, with the large cone around his head, he no longer fit through the dog door. So, he needed extra care and help.

“That’s when the fun began. Something brought to mind the old Victor Victrola ads with the dog,” Jody said. “I thought about how far technology had come, and the cone reminded me of the old speaker on the Victrola, only reversed.”

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That was the first picture she took and posted to Facebook and Instagram, substituting an iPod Mini and iHome speaker as the musical player. “That was the third day after Scout’s injury. I wondered if I could come up with eleven more images for each day he had left in the cone. Soon I was considering more elaborate dress-up ideas.”

Jody succeeded in her quest, posting each day’s new picture on her Facebook and Instagram pages. “I only had to purchase some colored duct tape and yarn,” Jody said. “Everything else I had at home, either in my craft items or dress-up closet that my nieces and nephew have used in my yearly Christmas cards.”

The response to Jody’s social media posts were very positive and supportive. “One of my friends told me that the women in her office at OSU waited eagerly every day to see what Scout would be wearing,” Jody said.

Hundreds of people have joined in the fun, with friends across the country commenting about their enjoyment of the pictures and how much they missed the daily posts when Scout’s time in the cone ended.

“At first Scout was still under the weather a bit, so he’s not as happy and perky in the first few pictures as he is in the later ones. You can actually watch his health improving.” Jody explained, “Our philosophy is: if life gives you two weeks in a cone, have fun with it!”

Jody first came to Stillwater as a freshman at OSU in 1987. After graduation, she worked as a high school English teacher around the state before returning to Stillwater in 2001 while she taught at Frontier High School in Red Rock. Five years later, she joined an educational software company as a consultant, which allowed her to maintain her base in Stillwater but required extensive travel. She’s now a National Curriculum Specialist for Edgenuity, Inc., partnering with the nationwide sales team to deliver engaging presentations either in person or via webinar to school districts around the country.  

When she travels, Jody said Scout is “pretty self-sustaining. He has a dog door from the house to the porch and backyard. He has food and water in the house and a toggle on the outside faucet that he manipulates with his tongue to access fresh water 24/7.” Jody set up a laptop on her kitchen bar so she can teleconference with Scout when she’s gone. She can see and hear him, and he can hear her. Scout comes running to the computer when he hears Jody’s voice. In addition, Tanner Thomas, a sophomore neighbor living down the street, checks on Scout, plays with him, and walks him. If Tanner is unavailable, his younger brother, Keegan, steps in to care for Scout.

“It takes a Stillwater spirit, a village, to support each other in the curveballs life throws and the cones we’re diagnosed. I’m so thankful for the outpouring of support as Scout and I turned our dog days of summer turned dreaded cone treatment into a joy for many to share,” said Jody.