Monday, January 4, 2010

A Dog Chrismas Story

Our brightly lit tree twinkled and taunted from the corner of the room, but had made it well so far - only losing a few low-hanging ornaments.  Our attentive doggie damage-control toddler monitoring techniques had paid off in the last few months and it was obvious.  Naughty puppy behaviors were down by at least 80%, and the chaos of having toddler dogs was transforming slowly into some light and random teen-aged defiance.  With Christmas just two days away, we had planned to light a fire that night, have some wine, and just relax a bit; but first there was one last errand to be ran.  A trip to the drug store would only take a minute, and the dogs, who laid like boneless plushies on the living room floor, were just too cute and innocent-looking to disrupt.   . 

15 minutes passed before our return.   The first indicator that something was a amiss came in the form of a lone small yellow and black peice of paper that had drifted to the back entry.  "Uh oh..what is that?" Jason's ninja puppy damage-control vision spotted the item instantly. 

"Where are the dogs?"  I sped around the corner, flung my purse to the table, and laid my eyes upon a perfectly upright and decorated Christmas tree; under it, presents with bows in tact snuggled safely together.  Three waddling and slightly slower moving dogs walked up to greet me.  A brief sigh of relief was interrupted as my eyes wandered towards the clean fireplace and I heard Lyla licking her lips. 

"Wait," the word carried with shivers of panic.  "Wasn't there a.."   - My husband, Jason, finished the sentence, "a box of FireLogs!  Where did it go?!" 

We scanned the large living room completely, only to find a few more scraps of slobbery bumble-bee colored fire log wrapping and a few bits of orange and black Duraflame logo. 

"Oh god," Jason exhaled as he wandered out of the front dining room carrying an empty and badly mauled Duraflame box.  "I think there was only one left, but maybe two," he explained in a forced hopeful tone.  "They've been busy!" 

Looking down at the adoring faces of our three now-flammable dogs, I could see the look of 'oops' in their eyes.  Their swollen bellies shifting to and fro as they wandered the room looking for comfortable spots to sleep off their poor meal decision.  Visions of emergency room visits danced through my head as Jason ran for the phone and dialed Animal Poison Control. 

How the words 'fine' and 'consumed a firelog' can appear in the same sentence - I will never understand.  Of course, "either they'll vomit it all up or it will come out the other end," came out of the Poison Control Professional's mouth next, so this explains the expertise that we were working with. 

We were advised to dose Pepto Bismol consistently on the hour to "help."  No other advice was offered, so a minute later I was huddled with three burpy puppies smelling of lighter fluid on the living room floor, doggie medicine shooter loaded and firing thick, chalky, pink pepto down their gullets.  In hindsight I see that our minds may not have been entirely clear and operational that day, as the reaction that followed can only be described as very poor planning.  

One might think that dog vomit alone is bad, and I agree.  But then there's dog vomit plus flammable firelog chunks, which definitely has a smell all to itself.  In my vast dog vomit experience catalog this smell is second only to that of doggie car sickness vomit, which defies all laws of logic and stench to create what can only be described as something the devil would throw up after eating too many hate-gummies during his favorite holocaust movie.  So this was second on the list to devil barf/ car dog vomit.  But I'll spare you the charts and graphs.

As I was saying, Duraflame logs and Pepto combined in a torrent of dog tummy terror almost instantly.   
We may have had a minute before the chase began.  First it was Jack, the fastest, that made the all-too-familiar 'urp urp' noise.  Anyone who has a dog or cat knows that "urping" is the universal signal for 'this sucker is gonna blow!"   Of course our cats, being the kind-hearted and thoughtful felines that they are, would probably choose to make this noise from the top of our favorite peice of furniture or pillow.  The dogs however did not spend much time planning and just wandered about, bodies heaving, like little furry bombs counting down: 4 urp, 3 urp, 2 urp, 1...

It was this moment that I realized my most catastrophic mistake - well, aside from leaving three dogs out with a flammable box of chewy paper-wrapped wood.   In all my panic, I had failed to contain three sick dogs before dosing them with the pinkest most syrupy stuff known to man.

If you have ever played the game Wack-a-Mole, you can understand the situation that followed.  Urping and vomiting sounds filled our house as Jason and I chased around three large dogs, each equally sick, confused, and running like hell away from the crazy people that just shoved pink disgusting goo down their throats.  The Pepto plus the highly flammable syrup in which the wood had been soaked in resulted in the same reaction as the volcano experiment often seen at science fairs.  Pink bubble-gum-hued foam outlined each dog's mouth like a happy santa beard on a not-so-happy pooch.

Devil vomit and dog car sickness may stink the worst, but the appearance pales in comparison to the loads of pink, syrupy, foamy, and chunky streams of pure nightmare shooting out of three dogs simultaneously.  The once beige carpet became spotted in festive Hubba Bubba toned puddles.  Perfectly clean red, tan, and black and white freckled paws became pink.  Parts of the wall: pink.  The gory visions burned permanently into our brains:  ALL PINK. 

Once the carnage had past and we had all been sufficiently slimed by the poor puppy parenting blob of revenge, Jason and I mopped, wiped, and scrubbed our house clean of our mistakes, leaving light baby girl pink stains on various areas of our floor.  The dogs slept soundly that night, and awoke the next day unscathed.  We, on the other hand, we scarred for life.  Thank goodness we have their love to help us cope with these hardships.

Writer's note:
This happened quite a few years ago.  Also, I am a trainer and behaviorist, but this does not make me or my dogs perfect.  In fact, I rather like them in their imperfect state best.  After all, if it weren't for my mistakes, and trust there have been many, I would have a lot less wisdom to share with my clients.  Case and point: always contain your dog on solid flooring if they are suffering from an upset tummy.  This is especially true if you have dosed them with bright pink Pepto Bismol.  Yes, you can thank me later.

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