March 10, 2007

Dogs - The Houdinis of Food

A dog’s bed is not merely for sleeping, but a catch-all for every little conquest your dog has made for the day: your brand new shoes, a dirty wash towel from your laundry hamper, the Styrofoam container from the trash that holds the meat you buy, chicken bones and any scented wrapper, peeling or paper towel that had fallen off the counter or was conveniently left head deep in the trash container. As you can see by the picture, even if the cat ventures to take a nap in their sleeping quarters, a dog will claim him too.

Dogs' beds are their sanctuaries and they believe anything they can find in the house and cleverly put on their mat before you notice is their domain to claim – it’s dogs law.

Yesterday morning, before work, I noticed a conspicuously concealed EMPTY box of Cepacol cough lozenges located in our dog’s bed, six of them in total were missing. Knowing that medication can be poisonous to animals, I did what any woman would naturally do in this type of situation, I called my husband.

He of course, had no idea if it would cause any harm, after all he reminded me that he isn’t a pharmacist, a vet and never worked for poison control. He did say that since Cepacol is a numbing agent for the throat, our dog wouldn’t be able to feel her mouth for several hours.
He told me to call a vet, which was an obvious answer, but still, aren't husbands supposed to know everything? How to repair a drain leak, how to install wood floors, how many tablespoons of flour are in a cup, how to drive to a place three states over, how to disinfect a dog after she was sprayed by a skunk and how to program the DVD player? (Okay, maybe not, and maybe not any of the things I just typed either.)

The first vet said to call poison control and there would be a $50 dollar charge. So far we have shelled out countless amounts of money for our pets, the emergency room visit when our little cat, Chewie, sat down near a lit candle and suddenly poof, his tail was smoking, which is just one in many, many incidents. So I called another vet who kindly told me that Cepacol shouldn't be poisonous, but to watch and make sure the dog isn’t lethargic and doesn't throw-up.

So I go outside to get our two dogs after their potty break and luckily, Daisy, our dog, doesn’t seem lethargic. She is doing her usual thing, sitting at the bottom of a large tree, waiting for a squirrel to venture down so she can chase it and humor herself into thinking she's going to be able to catch it. After five years here, and no squirrel caught, you would think she would give up but I guess it all has to do with the thrill of the chase. (She wouldn't know what to do with it anyway if she caught it.)
I was pretty happy that she was okay until I saw the three big white spots on the back porch. I freaked out; my dog must be throwing up or worse, foaming at the mouth. After inspecting what appeared to be throw-up and looking for half-digested throat lozenges, I soon realized I was looking through residual snow. Not one of my finest moments.

The moral of this story: don't leave anything anywhere that your dog can root through (like the trash), sniff around and grab (like something on your bedside table), nothing on the counter they can slide off with their tongue (I found our big dog licking the steaks in the frying pan once and yes, we did throw them away), don't let your dogs have access to your cat's or rabbit's food (I have found countless Collard greens in the dog's bed because they "think" they like it, they know they want it, but after chewing it, they realize they aren't too enthused about it, yet still they want it near their dog bed for ownership purposes), and never ever leave a tuna fish can (empty or totally sealed shut) anywhere in the vicinity because they will bite through the steel for their absolute favorite – tuna fish. Believe me, the can will be chewed up and licked clean. (They even like it more than chocolate, the absolute food they can't eat, but they'll try everytime.)
So the next time you find something missing, scamper over to your dog’s bed and if it’s not there, it’s probably in their next best hiding place – their stomach.

March 5, 2007

Never a Boring Moment at the Library

Okay, this isn't one of my better life lessons. But it will teach you all to be leery of the library and to certainly bring a Glade scented spray can with you. I wonder if that would be flammable around a fireplace?

As many of you know, I took a much needed break for part of the week from work. Since my sister is watching Olivia (my daughter), Stephane (my husband) and I decided to go to the library for the first time since Olivia was born. We went to sit in the quiet room, an ultra modern enclosed room with plenty of seats and four fireplaces, all to create the perfect ambiance for reading a great book. I was ready for a long hour of silence: no baby crying, no dogs barking, no dishes to be done. The perfect atmosphere.

As we sat down in two vacant chairs, Stephane announced that he had to go to the bathroom.

"But I don't have a book yet to read," I told him. I didn't want to just sit there looking at the two other people in the room on a Sunday afternoon.

"There is a book on one of those fireplaces," he said and turned around and left.

"Well at least there is something to read," I told myself, never liking to be without a book if I have nothing to do.

I went to pick the book up and was able to get to the second sentence until I realized I had no idea what I was reading. It was called Exercises in Electrical and Magnetic Measurement. I put that book down faster than I found it. I looked around and found Stephane's work notebook near his coat. Maybe I could find something illicit and not for me to see in it. For the next fifteen minutes, I read notes and entries regarding computer programs. I've never been so bored in my life.

After Stephane came back twenty minutes later I went to get some books and came back. The fireplace was going full blast, which made it extremely hot. I pushed my chair back, further back, and then further back again, until I was sitting right next to a man who I presumed was homeless based on his fashion sense and well, he was sleeping.

Now I first encountered snoring from our dog Emmy, then Stephane when he's tired, then Olivia when she has a cold. It's a regular musical production at night in our bedroom and now I went all the way to the library to hear the homeless man snore. Not the quiet, even tempered snoring that could possibly go with the crackling of the fireplace and the slow cascade of water from the Zen fountain in the corner, but the deep guttural snoring where occasionally one gets tripped up in their breathing, coughs something up, looks up for a moment wondering where they are and then hunkers down in their chair again, dead asleep and snoring once more.

I look around to see if anyone else found it funny that this man is snoring in the "quiet room" where the silence is deafening. Stephane looks at me, notices it for a brief moment and then goes back to reading his book. Finally, I'm into the whole rhythm of the snoring, the Zen fountain and the fireplace, combining them until they all cancel each other out, until suddenly a bang erupts and I look at Stephane to ask him what it was. Stephane looks at me and whispers, "I think he just tooted."

Oh the joys of communal places.

Everything else went well. There were only two other incidents that happened. I went to walk three dogs in the freezing weather and they ended up all getting wrapped around a telephone pole. It took 15 minutes weaving three leashes in and out until finally the dogs (and me) weren't all attached to the pole anymore. The other thing that happened was that we heard this loud boom one night. We had thought one of our pets knocked something over until around midnight, I yelled from the bathroom, "Stephane, the bathroom ceiling fell in!" (And yes, it really did.) So besides those three things, everything else went quite well.