If you are of the female gender, you understand there is one thing on our planet we couldn’t resist, even if our lives depended on it.
Unfortunately, it is a rule of thumb that holds true even for Rosie the Dog.
Yesterday I came home, four grocery bags dangling from each arm, to some alarming news.
“Rosie ate all the M&M cookies,” Tyler, my nine-year-old, announced.
“How do you know it was Rosie?” I asked.
“Because the container was full ten minutes ago,” he said. “And now it’s empty. And Rosie was running around with the last one in her mouth like a Frisbee.”
This wasn’t good. In my lifetime, I’ve gathered a long list of “Do Nots,” and I’m pretty sure feeding chocolate to dogs was Do Not #318. Right after putting tinfoil in the microwave.
I discovered the empty plastic container in the dining room, the floor licked clean of every other crumb of evidence. I read the label. There were 24 cookies to start with. The interrogation began.
“Tyler, how many cookies have you eaten?”
“One,” was his immediate response.
“No,” I prodded. “Since we bought them last weekend. You had one on the way home from the grocery store. How many have you eaten since then?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “Three? Four, tops.”
Next came the girls. In our house, cookies are used for bribery and are distributed upon completion of their dinner. Unfortunately for Rosie the Dog, each girl finished her dinner only once since Saturday.
Six cookies accounted for. By some miracle, I hadn’t eaten any. For the sake of Rosie’s entire digestive system, Doug was our only hope.
There was a light at the end of the intestine. You see, Doug is a compulsive junk food eater. It got to the point where I purchased a lock box from Staples and went Fort Knox on all the kids’ cookies, Twinkies, Ding Dongs and all other such artery-clogging treats. For added security, I decorated the top with a written reminder for Doug to take his cholesterol medication.
Still, my husband is resourceful with not much of a guilty conscience. There was hope for Rosie’s liver yet.
After a lengthy interrogation involving a dim, windowless room and one lightbulb dangling from the ceiling, it was determined that this was the one time that Doug decided to heed a reasonable diet with good nutrition.
The verdict was in: Rosie had singlehandedly scarfed down an estimated 18 M&M cookies. She was doomed.
The woman working the phones at the Simsbury Veterinary Hospital had even more questions than I did.
“Was it chocolate cookie dough or plain?” she inquired.
“Plain,” I said. “Three-point-forty-eight pounds of it. Actually, an even three, if you subtract what my kids ate.”
“I’m not concerned about the cookies themselves,” she explained. “It’s the chocolate that’s the potential problem. How big was the bag of M&Ms?”
If you’re reading this for a laugh, you can stop right here. The woman actually thought I baked the cookies myself.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I bought them at Big Y.”
After a lengthy speculation about the diameter of an average-sized cookie, along with the possible number of M&Ms in each of the 18 cookies and some rigorous work on a scientific calculator, it was deduced that Rosie had consumed an estimated ninety M&Ms.
“What is your dog doing right now?” she asked. “Is she acting hyper?”
“No. She’s just lying on the couch. Very lethargic-like. But she always does that.”
“And how much does she weigh?”
“Too much. That’s why she’s always lying on the couch and lethargic.”
Rosie’s records indicated that she was 58 pounds at the time of her last visit. The woman put me on hold.
During that time, Rosie and I held our breath and waited.
After five minutes of inappropriately cheerful music came the doctor’s orders.
“Feed her a tablespoon of Hydrogen Peroxide,” the woman instructed. “Then wait until she vomits.”
Rosie lifted her head and stared at me.
“Let me get this straight,” I clarified. “The brown container with the crossbones on it? The stuff that makes cuts burn and fizz like nuclear fission? You want me to feed it to my dog?”
“Yes,” she said. “And after fifteen minutes, if she doesn’t throw up, feed her another tablespoon.”
To those of you who have tried to feed artichoke mush to a fussy baby with acid reflux, you can stop nodding your head like you can relate. You still have no clue what it’s like to try to feed Hydrogen Peroxide to a dog.
I pried Rosie’s mouth open and gnashed the spoon between her teeth. The peroxide gushed from her mouth to the floor. She shook her head violently as though she could shake the taste right out of her mouth.
I didn’t need a second attempt to realize it was a lost cause. Rosie would have to let nature take its course.
For the next two hours, we watched her. She didn’t move from the couch. I tugged her collar, but she wouldn’t budge. knew I couldn’t lift her and take her outside. I wished with all that was in my being that dogs could use bedpans.
Come dinnertime, Tyler began prepping the dog food, making his usual clatter of opening cans, mixing and spilling dry kibbles with a heap of wet food into the metal bowls.
Rosie leaped from the couch and waited by her usual spot, tail wagging.
“She wants her dinner,” I said to Doug, baffled.
He just shrugged and stared. I think part of him admired her.
Rosie gulped down her dinner in one bite and looked at us for seconds. Then she trudged into the dining room, belly dangling, and used her snout to pry open the cabinet—the same place she got the cookies hours before.
I stared in disbelief. She was actually looking for dessert. After devouring 18 M&M cookies, it appeared, a nineteenth would hit the spot.
How could a dog have such a high cookie tolerance? It didn’t make any sense. I was way more than twice her body weight, yet with the encouragement of six of my college buddies raising their platters and chanting “GLUTTONIZE! GLUTTONIZE! GLUTTONIZE,” I still would only be able to polish off six of them at best.
I reasoned that the chocolate toxicity hadn’t kicked in yet. In the morning I would find eighteen fresh piles around the house—one for each cookie. I went to bed and braced myself for a grisly morning scene.
It was a slow journey down the hallway and stairs the next morning. I poked around every corner of the house with a bottle of undiluted Lysol in hand, one finger resting on the trigger.
All clear. Not one pile to be found.
But something else was missing. Rosie wasn’t snoozing on the couch, which was her usual morning spot. She wasn’t upstairs or down. There were no footsteps to be heard. The only sound cutting through the eerie early morning silence was the Bean’s snoring.
I shuddered. Animals like to hide before they die. I imagined her huddled in some darkened corner, gasping her final breath. Maybe I shouldn’t have given up on the Peroxide. Maybe nature had taken its course in a most final and irreversible way.
I should have taken her the emergency room, I thought. I should have gotten her stomach pumped. What kind of dog owner allows her animal to consume 90 M&Ms, then does nothing about it? Worse yet, how would I break the news to the kids?
I edged my way to the kitchen, and that’s when I found her.
There she was at the door, wagging her tail, chest out, belly lagging, eyeing her leash on the counter, a low whimper in her throat in anticipation of her morning walk.
We locked eyes. “Let’s do this,” I’m sure I heard her say.
There is one thing that can be said about Rosie. That dog can party.