chocolate spewing forth

Mud cake with chocolate sprinkles by Leon Brooks

Had a very interesting conversation with Andreas Heinekroon, Elizabeth Francois, and Jim W (if you’ve been here since the beginning, he’s the one who was unknowingly lured into trolling the comments of this blog by Lisa Galaviz) about chocolate being poisonous.

Apparently everyone was aware that chocolate was poisonous for dogs, but Andreas informed us that it was also poisonous for humans. Only in massive quantities it must be said, but it’s true nevertheless. In case you’re wondering, it’s 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs) of chocolate for the average human. As long as you eat less than that, you should be ok.

But for dogs it’s a different story, and for some dog breeds chocolate is particularly dangerous. For whatever reason, the Dachshund is a dog for whom chocolate is especially dangerous. You know, I’m not sure if that’s even true. I’ve heard it over the years from so many sources that I’ve just always taken in at face value.

See I have a history with these little weiner dogs. My grandmother had one when I was really small. My parents got one when everyone left home and they could enjoy co-habitating with dog rather than sons. We know quite a lot about the dog that is the Dachshund.

Which leads me to my story. When I was in school, I had a friend who had her own Dachshund called ‘Peterson‘.* Like so many of his breed, this little guy lived for mealtimes. His feeding schedule was strictly adhered to and, as a result of his daydreaming only about eating, he quite literally inhaled his food. I’m rather certain that if you inquired, he’d have informed you that the amount of food he was getting was not nearly enough.

I don’t remember how it happened exactly, but there was a bag of Ghirardelli chocolate in the pantry, and Peterson knew it. My suspicion has always been that he’d planned to make his move for weeks if not months. Someone inadvertently left the pantry door open, everyone was going about their business, and suddenly it was discovered that the package of chocolate was now an empty plastic bag. Peterson‘s mom and I reacted instantaneously. We both knew how dangerous chocolate was for this breed and that time was of the essence.

We scooped him up and rushed him into the bathtub. Even though it had only been a few minutes since he scarfed down this huge bag of chocolate, he was already looking a bit queasy. This was not going to be nice. Actually, it was going to be the opposite of nice.

I’m going to refrain from making any bulimia jokes, but I want it to state for the record that I showed a modicum of reserve. If that chocolate started to digest, it was going to be really dangerous for that miniature dog. We had to make him regurgitate and we had to do it fast.

If there was a more graceful way to go about this than sticking your finger down his throat, well then I wish you’d been there to tell us. We could’ve really used that precious information right about then. But without an alternative, it was a bit of fingertip down the gullet.

One of us was holding Peterson over the tub while the other aimed his frontside like a garden hose toward the drain. Am sure that’s as graphic as I need to get. Suffice it to say there seemed to be twice the volume of the original bag of chocolate that came back out of his little body. As if he were defecating out of the wrong orifice (and I said I wouldn’t get graphic-shame on me).

Felt a bit like we were at a college beer party and someone had had too much to drink. But at the same time when our adrenaline wore off it was also a wonderful feeling to know that our quick response probably saved Peterson‘s charmed life.

Because ultimately that’s what it was. A saying I learned recently that is pertinent: ‘Better an empty house than a bad tenant’.

(*some names have been altered to protect the innocent…actually, just one name)