Gus’ Fashion Muzzle

Gus modeling his new muzzle

I felt comfortable right away,  with the new muzzle we got Gus.  I think because it reminded me of the black-fly nets I used to wear when I first moved upstate.

It seems the black-flies were worse back then.  It was impossible to garden or even just take a walk without pinning netting onto a hat to keep the black-flies out of my eyes, mouth and nose.

As  you may know, Gus has megaesophagus.  This means whenever he eats anything like sheep or deer or rabbit poop, (or anything really that isn’t soft enough to just slide down his esophagus) he can’t digest it and  vomits it back up.

So we’ve been trying different muzzles to find the right one so he can still go out into the pasture and on walks in the woods with us.  Because Gus is the kind of dog who will and does eat anything and everything he can get into his little mouth.

Gus came  for a walk in the woods with me and Fate a few days ago wearing his new muzzle and it worked great.  He was running around like he didn’t have a big net over his head, but couldn’t eat everything in his path.

It only took him a little while to get used to the muzzle.   Now when I put it on him, I talk to him in an “up” voice, or make up songs, like Gus is happy in his muzzle, it’s a happy happy muzzle, as if it’s a good thing even if it might not feel that way to him.

When I was putting the muzzle on him yesterday, I remembered something I saw in the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the Essex Peabody Museum a couple of weekends ago.

It was a photograph of O’Keeffe wearing a hood, called “Helmet” Hat, modeled after an aviators helmet, and  made by designer Zoe de Salle in the 1940’s.

“Georgia O’Keeffe” by George Daniell 1952.  Wearing the “Helmet” Hat.

Now, I know Gus’ muzzle isn’t as stylish, at the “Helmet” Hat, but there are similarities. Something in the shape of them, and the color of course.   If you can imagine a net over O’Keeffe’s face, it’s pretty close.

And thinking this also makes me feel a little better that Gus has to wear the muzzle whenever he’s outside.

Like maybe it’s good dog fashion or something.  And definitely better than  that other muzzle that made him look like Hannibal Lecter.

Gus in his Hannibal Lecter Muzzle. Photo by Jon Katz


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