I should have been a better, more intuitive reader when I read John Grogan’s “Marley and Me.” Yet I allowed three glasses of wine and the eternal position of being a sucker for animals to allow me to hold this black Labrador Retriever mix tight to my chest as I told my husband, “I can’t live without her.” So the next day after the booze wore off I realized that this new dog, Alley–the name we gave her was Marley reincarnate. She didn’t listen, didn’t come when we called, ate literally anything and everything (full turtles–shell and all, bees, squirrels…you name it, she’ll eat it) and insists that every visitor to my home requires being French kissed by her.
And being a total sucker I allow her to sleep with me, sometimes taking over the entire bed with her 70 lb. body. Hopefully you are getting the picture that I am not in charge–she is.
So when last week I lovingly made my daughter her breakfast sandwich and clandestinely laced it with her Adderall (because she refuses to take her pill) you’ll understand that why Alley felt entitled to that uneaten sandwich.
My daughter, while innocently disregarding my efforts to get her to focus on schoolwork, left the sandwich on the counter and in my race around the house to “get it all done” forgot it was within reach of the dogs.
That day in particular was important as I was trying to make it to a very important appointment that took me months to score–something that only comes once in a lifetime. I was fully dressed and ready to walk out the door when I noticed the telltale signs. Sandwich–gone. Napkin holding sandwich–on the floor and fully shredded.
I knew who did it. She was lounging on my bed, as though she didn’t have a care in the world, but I could see the look of guilt…and a slight look of focus to the point where I could see that she wanted to accomplish something.
Thinking that this dog has eaten an entire turtle, a little Adderall couldn’t hurt right? I dashed off to my appointment, hoping the happy result would be that Alley would spring into action doing laundry, cleaning the house from top to bottom perhaps.
Instead I called animal poison control who wanted to charge me $65 to give me the yay or nay on whether she needed her stomach pumped. I erred on the side of caution, turned the car around, canceled my beloved, impossible to obtain appointment and headed home.
Off we went to the vet for a full blown stomach pumping, charcoal eating session. Alley spent the day on an IV where her vitals were monitored and she was pumped with so much charcoal 10 families could have hosted a hell of a barbeque.
Luckily she was fine…my bill was outrageous ($500) and I got her home just as the vet was closing for the day. However…in the car I could tell all was not right with the world as her facial expression resembled Joan Rivers after far too much plastic surgery. She looked completely surprised and literally freaked out.
Upon pulling into my garage she leapt from my car and headed to her bowl where she proceeded to drink about a gallon of water. This followed a scene most likely played out on The Exorcist as she spewed black charcoal throughout my home–hitting every carpeted area and being sure to miss any tile or wood flooring.
At this point I’m on the phone with the vet because I figured this wasn’t normal, right? They told me that she probably drank too much water but if she barfed again I should head to the emergency vet. The word “emergency vet” strikes fear in any dog owner for the simple reason that it means you will have to most likely sell your children on the black market to pay the fee.
Luckily I withheld any more water, even though my overly enthusiastic dog (most likely still flying on Adderall) begged and whined for it.
So here I sit–carpets stained from charcoal and a dog who has no idea why the heck her sandwich resulted in a day at the vet. As I write this she is laying in bed–her head on my pillow curled up, ready for a back massage…I am a slave to this dog.
Gina Ragusa is a freelance writer and mom from sunny (and sometimes not) South Florida. Her 15 year experience ranges from writing about banking to tattoo parlors.