Friday, December 8, 2023

Brazen

 

When Charly started getting old, her good behaviour deteriorated noticeably…particularly in relation to food.  It became difficult to reinforce the rules given her deafness, but her misbehaviour could not simply be attributed to not hearing our commands.  As a young dog, she had kept her distance as we ate and maintained some manners, but as a senior, she threw caution to the wind.  She would come very close to us when we were eating.  At times she inched forward as my daughter ate “floor-picnic” snack plates…slowing creeping until her long tongue could lick something up.  “What do I have to lose?" she thought (I think), "A little chastisement?  Short ostracization?” 

 

It is this brazen disregard that I recall every December.  One Monday evening, we had gone out for dinner to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.  We had stopped at home first, and I should have taken two minutes to feed Charly.  I didn’t.  And, senior Charly no longer had the stomach or the patience to wait…not when there was wrapped up food underneath the Christmas tree (unbeknownst to us).  While we were eating, so was Charly.  When we came home, the living room floor was strewn with paper and aluminum foil.  We pieced together what it was that she had found.  The chocolate had come from overseas, and my spouse frantically called his family to find out what it had been, and how much:  four large chocolate bars in various flavours.  Simultaneously, I read out over the phone to the animal hospital staff grams and percentages of cacao from saliva saturated scraps of recovered paper.  Their calculations revealed a low level of toxin…until we found the extra-dark-chocolate wrapper.  Then, we all scrambled in the car and raced to animal emergency.  

 

Charly was fed charcoal to absorb the toxin and induce vomiting…three times over the course of many hours.  I cried as we left her and drove home in the dark.  I kept my phone by my bed, waking frequently and anticipating a call with dire news.  But, the sun rose and the next day passed.  She was going to be fine, the hospital staff said, and we should pick her up because she refused to eat any more charcoal.  That was the vet bill that led to the establishment of a savings account for Charly.  And that was the last time in our home that chocolate was ever left unattended.  

 

Happy holidays!!  Read more OldDogBlog on January 5, 2024.

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