Tuesday, February 08, 2011

If consumed, dial 1-800-Panic-Now

Note: This column appears in the 2/10 issue of The Glendale Star and the 2/11 issue of the Peoria Times

Hey, you know what turns out is not so good for dogs? Rat poison.

Yeah, so our dog got into some rat poison recently. This actually happened a few weeks ago, but I only now feel well enough to write about it in a lighthearted and sarcastic manner. It was great!

What happened was this: My in-laws have an exterminator for their house here in AZ, but they informed him upon his first visit not to drop any dangerous chemicals, as we bring our dog there frequently. Well, a different guy from the same company did the service call recently, and nobody thought twice about it. So, we were having a grand ol’ time in the backyard when my brother-in-law and I noticed our dog Mac enjoying a little appetizer in the corner of the yard.

After we pulled him away, I saw the bag on the ground. My heart sunk, because all I could see from afar on the bag was a bunch of fine print, undoubtedly explaining in detail the harmful effects of consuming its contents. It might as well have had a giant skull and crossbones on it.

I scraped what I could out of his mouth, and we were off to the pet hospital. Road trip! My wife was still at work, so I had to call and let her know what was going on. Now, one of my favorite Seinfeld moments ever is when everyone thinks George is dead, and Mr. Costanza leaves a message on Jerry’s machine: “Jerry, it’s Mr. Costanza. Steinbrenner’s here, George is dead. Call me back.” The message I left for my wife wasn’t far off: “Babe, it’s me. Mac ate rat poison; we’re going to Pet Smart. Call me. Also, pick up bread.”

The thing about dogs in these situations that’s both reassuring and disconcerting is their eternally positive attitude. We were on our way to make sure he wouldn’t die, and Mac was acting like we were going to Fun Time Happy Town For Dogs. Upon our arrival at the pet hospital, I didn’t witness the sense of urgency I had expected. I thought he was going to get rushed into the back room and several doctors were going to gather around him, yell “Clear!’ and pump his chest. Instead they wanted to weigh him, then pet him, then ask me questions, and then pet him again.

It began to set-in that things would probably be okay, as he apparently didn’t consume much of the poison. Still, they gave him a shot of vitamin K and a charcoal cleansing, which later caused him to yak up black stuff all over our backyard. Overall, it was a great day.

That’s the thing, too—it really was supposed to be a nice, relaxing day, our first in weeks. Things had been so hectic, with many people visiting and many things to do, and this particular evening we had all planned a nice, easy, home-cooked dinner and a chance to all catch up. Instead, our dog ate rat poison.

These are the types of things that happen when you’re responsible for beings like kids, or dogs, or both. At the end of the day, you’re just happy that everyone’s okay. They also make for great stories on those occasions when you can relax and have adult conversations with other humans. When that day comes, it will be great.

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