Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween Tricks & Treats

Yesterday was a busy day, as is every Tuesday for me. Needing to talk to other faculty members, it was 5:30 before a left the university, which was still earlier than many days. It wouldn't have been bad except the Halloween commute was hell. I hit south Austin at 6 p.m. and it took until after 7 p.m. before I crossed the 15 miles to the north side of town.

Stuck in traffic, I called Doug. "You aren't going to believe what the dogs did," he started. They got into the Halloween candy for the trick or treaters. It was high on the counter, but they managed to get the box and eat two dozen full-sized chocolate bars. "Are they alive?" I asked, having always been told chocolate was lethal for dogs. "They are lucky I haven't killed them," Doug answered. After 5 minutes of my questioning him, I hung up and called the vet. The vet was gone for the day but the assistant tried to answer questions. She said she thought milk chocolate was better than dark or baking chocolate, she didn't know what symptoms I should look for and suggested I call the emergency veterinary clinic.

I go through the story again about the dogs, including their size, the type of candy and how much they ate. I'm put on hold for a few minutes as they are asking my questions to others at the clinic. Finally I'm told that is a lot of chocolate for the size of our dogs. Since we didn't know exactly when in the day they at it, don't worry about inducing vomiting. It could be they ate it in the morning and have been throwing up all day. We were to expect vomiting and diarrhea and to make sure they had plenty of water. We were also supposed to watch for extreme lethargicness or hyperactivity. At this point, there was little that we could do, but if the symptoms seemed severe, we were to bring them to the emergency clinic. I thanked the lady and called Doug back.

"Do the dogs seem overly hyperactive?" I asked. "Yeah, they keep barking and jumping around because the doorbell keeps ringing with trick-or-treaters." I realized this conversation was going nowhere and decided to focus on my 5 mph drive.

Finally I arrived home. Doug had locked the dogs outside so he could pass out what was left of the candy without the dogs rushing the door and scaring the little kids. It was after 9 when we turned off our porch light and let the dogs in. With all the excitement of the night, and being on a sugar high, they were a bit wound up. "What do you think?" the nervous mom in me kept asking Doug. He pointed out there was little we could do. We went to bed at 10 and I decided we would keep the bedroom door open so the dogs could go out if they needed to relieve themselves, and that the dogs could sleep on the bed so that we could tell right away if something was wrong.

At 2:30 in the morning I woke up to get a drink. Crawling back into bed, I reached down to pet Allegra. No movement. I felt her chest for breathing and a heartbeat and couldn't feel it. I put my head on her chest, I didn't hear anything. I became frantic, thinking I had a dead dog on my bed. I called her name and suddenly she lifted her head, banging me in the forehead with her cone. She was alive, just very much asleep. I then turned my attention to Dante, who was very much alive and wanted petting.

It's now afternoon and the dogs seem fine. I haven't noticed any of the symptoms I was told to look for. They have survived their Halloween treats and have tricked their mom into worrying about them.

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