A Dog Crime? Or A Human Crime?

Your pet is not insured. You have no back-up fund for accidents. The emergency occurs, and you need to know if there is hope for help you can afford?

Have you ever been yelled at? You are relaxed, working nicely, the world and its problems is spinning on an axis with its allies fighting battles you don't need to know. And then someone yells at you for help?

"Don! OP ate soap!" 

Oh, good! Not important. Just a yelling thing. Not a real thing. Soap is not so bad. 

"What should we do? Quick, come look!"

Rats. Not to look would mean not caring. We know we care. We know we have to get all the way up just to say, "No need to get up after all. It's soap!"

I put down my laptop, stretch my stiffened joints, lumber to the kitchen to see what's up. I'm thinking the whole way:

"Soap. Whew! He hadn't been exercised enough that day. We had so much to do the walk got shortened, the play was cut down to nearly nothing, the usual petting and scratching and human-to-pet chatter was cheated."

He was acting out of pent up needs. And it was just soap. Thank God!

I enter the kitchen. 


Shredded cardboard shrapnel strewn about the floor—amidst what looked like baking soda spilled from an overturned, nibbled box—all suggested a Caesar Milan CSI episode of neurotic naughtiness. But no danger, right? It's "soap!" 

It wasn't soap.

This was not a bar of Ivory soap or a nibble on some lavender loaf.


This was possibly a poison problem. OP had eaten detergent—laundry detergent. 

"Why did he do that?"
OP's human mom wants to know the motivation. Are you kidding?

  • Too much recent travel. 
  • Not enough exercise as schedules exploded for the humans. 
  • Colder mornings and evenings caused those long hikes and sniffing jaunts to shrivel into meaningless minor meanderings.

OP wants to stretch, to hike, to sniff, to ponder, to wander, to shimmy and shake.

OP wants hydrant time, squirrel porn, blades of doggie wee-wee grass for the fine fragrant freedoms he feels in flapping his fair nostril fibers.

The humans have failed his every need.

Squeamish early morning, winter dog-walkers often shrink from duty. Yes, I'm a dog trainer. Yes, I know better. Yes, I screwed up!

OP's long, leisurely strolls have been cut down from the much-needed mile or three into a quarter mile of complainy, shivery, see-your-own-breath, dark morning rush.

"Good boy," morphed into "Hurry up!"

Laundry detergent (and the box it rode in on) is an innocent victim of a terrier riot. And I caused it. Guilty. The rebel watches from the shadows, witnessing the wrath he was wrought. 

A mortal woman and a human-all-too-human man scramble to inspect every inch of the crime scene. 

Now, this particular detergent is very "green," environmentally conscious detergent. This detergent is better for the environment than most soaps out there. I feel safe at first, because the ingredients aren't those nasty toxic chemicals other detergents inflict on the world. 

But even green detergent can be a problem. 

"How much did he eat?"

It's unclear. Could have been a nibble with a lot of chewing and destruction going on. Yet he might have gotten some good bites and swallows in.

"What now?"

Is there an insurance investment for OP?

No. Stupid. First dog I haven't insured.

With all the advice this column has given to keeping a special fund for animal emergencies or an insurance plan being worth the price, there is no solid plan for OP. I procrastinated on this year's care plan.

Stupid. Knew better. Mind elsewhere. Trouble has come to Studio City.

So many things can poison a dog: chocolate, spilled chemicals you didn't notice, detergent, avocado can do damage, the all-purpose healing aloe vera can cause serious trouble, many common household plants from iris and English Ivy to the humble tomato plant.

The long list of dangers to dogs and to cats (and to some other pets) is available at ASPCA's Poison Center(888) 426-4435.

I called that number, was given immediate first aid advice. By doing that, observing my dog closely during the night, and by waiting until a morning appointment with an opened clinic in town, I saved over $1,000 in emergency fees. Maybe more.

Some poisonings require immediate emergency care. But spending $65 for a poison center evaluation can be a worthwhile investment. You don't always need a midnight clinic. Sometimes you need immediate first aid that you can do. Then you need to admit your faults and change your behavior, so the dog doesn't have to riot again to try to get your attention!

This evening, OP walked for two miles before any humans were allowed to slump and slumber. 

Thus ends the lesson.


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