Monday I had one of those days. You know the kind. The kind where you leave your grocery list and coupons home on the counter when you had hoped this trip to the store would be your last until after Christmas. I also took off without my cell phone. I didn’t figure that one out until I was writing a check for my groceries and I noticed the piece of red card-stock sticking out of my purse pocket with the words PUT CELL IN PURSE written on it with a magic marker. I could almost hear my mother saying, “You’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached!” How I ever got the reputation for being a detail person is beyond me. Actually, I do understand and I do deserve that reputation. But I’m also known for being a one-track person and when I left for the store my one-track was on a different road.
At the store I came upon something I’d never seen before---a beautiful layered tiramisu cake all boxed up for gift-giving, an import from Italy. I love tiramisu cakes and Italy but I couldn’t read 99% of the words on the box or find an expiration date. Even so that box was in and out of my cart a bunch of times before the you’re-on-a-diet side of the debate going on in my head won over the you-deserve-a-Christmas-gift side. Still, I couldn’t get tiramisu out my thoughts so when I got to the bakery section I couldn’t help buying a single square of American style tiramisu. (Punishment for my indiscretion would come later.) When the young clerk handed me the box he'd put the two inch square of cake in, I almost asked him to tape the lid shut---they usually do---but I didn’t want to sound like a fussy old woman. Big mistake.
When I got home I took two cloth grocery bags in the house and sat them on the kitchen floor then went back to the garage to get some more. When I came back in, the dog had popped the top off the tiramisu and was eating the chocolate layer and then some off the top of cake square. The top that is dusted in cocoa powder. Most people know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, the darker the chocolate the more toxic it is and cocoa powder is right up there at the top of the list. Coffee isn’t good for dogs either which tiramisu also has in its layers. I hopped on the internet and found a site that scared the heck out of me. Levi was going to suffer diarrhea, vomiting, low blood pressure, rapid breathing and seizures before his muscles got rigid and his heart failed. The site also said that once the symptoms start it was almost too late for treatment.
I called his veterinary, prepared to rush Levi down to get his stomach pumped and force it full of charcoal to absorb any left-over toxicity. The vet wanted to call me back after he did some calculations that involved Levi’s weight vs. how much tiramisu he had consumed. They have an app for that. Who knew. And who would have ever guessed math would play such a critic role in my day? When the vet called back he said he was quite sure Levi would be okay but if Levi started showing any symptoms over the next six hours I was to rush him down to the Animal Emergency Hospital. Yes, we have one of those in town and it’s very much like an ER for people. Sad, tense, even crying people are in the waiting area and you wait forever while your pet is surrounded by specialty veterinaries prepared 24/7 to do anything from pull a thorn out of a paw to open heart surgery. Like any other hospital, though, the less critical patients wait while they take the more serious cases first. And you’d better have a credit card with you because you have to hand it over before your pet even gets rushed back for treatment. I don't know what happens if you don't have one and I hope I never find out.
After I got off the phone, Levi was acting like a brat, begging for treats that I didn’t give him. If he was going to upchuck, I thought, best not to have too much in his stomach. Do you know how hard it is to watch a dog for six hours? All kinds of thoughts ran through your mind. What would I do without him in my life? How could I have set that grocery bag on the floor? Why didn’t I act on the impulse to ask the guy at the bakery counter to tape the box shut? In the meantime, Levi ran around barking at squirrels and birds while I followed closely behind making sure he didn’t park any barf in the corners of the rooms. Perfectly normal---well, not the following part but you probably knew that. Then he took a nap. Perfectly normal even if I did keep annoying him by taking his pulse every time he twitched in his sleep. Finally, the six hours ticked by and Levi didn't show any symptoms that he would die by chocolate. To celebrate I ate the rest of the tiramisu. But I did not enjoy it...and I'm not sure I ever will again. What a waste of calories, a half a day and $2.99. Crimes against your diet plan just aren’t worth it! ©