A Middle Aged Woman Laughs at “Dog People”
(Not Me, of Course!)

I swore I’d never be one of “those” people.

You know the ones; they obsess over their dogs, sparing no expense to ensure their “baby’s” comfort and health. They buy the expensive pet food at specialty stores. They celebrate the animal’s birthday, including presents and a puppy cake. They go far beyond the necessary doggie shots and annual check-ups, working themselves into a lather every time Fido whimpers. And they have the vet’s number on speed dial.

That would never be me. I love my dog, but she’s a dog. My second dog, continuing my doggie stewardship into the twenty-six year range, to be exact. And while I think I’m a good dog owner (in truth, St. Francis, patron saint of animals, owes me big time for keeping my current maniacal mutt), I was never going to be one of those crazies who freaked out if something happened to her dog.

Until last Sunday, when Casey downed an entire tray of mouse poison.

Honestly, I was relatively calm, given the circumstances. My husband, the purveyor of the poison, was a wreck.

The episode commenced with Dave dragging the dog up the stairs from the basement, slamming the door and sprinting into the garage to gather a pair of gloves and a bag while Casey paced and whined at the closed door.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

Dave hesitated, fully aware of the maelstrom he was poised to release. “There’s a mouse in the basement. I was down there working and Casey came down and crashed through the closet behind me. When I looked in the closet, I saw this tail sticking out of the trap and twitching back and forth. I grabbed her just before she got to the thing.”

“Ahhhhhh! Oh my god! You found a mouse in the basement?” I shrieked. “What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to take the trap and the mouse out and get rid of it. I’ll drive it to the woods and let it go,” he said. Ten minutes later, Dave returned, determined to avoid a future replay of the hysteria. “I’m going to put some mouse bait in that closet,” he said.

“Wait. You just drove a mouse to the woods to spare it, and now you’re going to put poison in the closet to kill its relatives?” I questioned.

“I don’t have any more of those no-kill traps. I could do nothing and they could have a party down there if you’d like,” he added.

“No, no. Rodents do not fall under my ‘Be kind to animals’ mantra. Do what you must,” I said.

An hour later, I noticed our missing canine. “Where’s the dog?” I asked. “Wait, is she down the basement?” I looked at Dave. “I hope she didn’t eat that mouse bait.”

Dave blanched, racing down the stairs. “Oh my god! She ate the whole tray!” he screamed. “What do we do?”

“Relax. I know this dog. She’s going to be fine,” I said, calmly looking up the vet’s number.

“I can’t be responsible for killing the dog!” Dave cried. “Hurry up! We’ve got to get her to the hospital!”

One frantic car ride, three hours, two hundred dollars and a very relieved husband later, we walked a loopy, doped-up dog (see photo) back to the car. “I told you she was going to be fine,” I said. “Can you believe we spent the entire afternoon at an animal hospital? And two hundred bucks! Are you kidding me?”

“It could have been a thousand bucks and I would have paid it,” Dave said. “You know, you talk a big story, but if anything had happened to that dog, I would have had to move out of the house. You’re not fooling me with your ‘If St. Francis wants her, I’m fine with that.’ You’d be in therapy and then so would the rest of us.”

So not true. Sure, I would have been a little sad; I mean, the dog never answers me back, she comes when I call her, she eats what I put in front of her, she’s always happy to see me, and she loves me no matter what kind of mood I’m in.

On second thought, maybe it is time to ditch the bargain dog food. And with Casey’s birthday coming up, I suppose a little celebration wouldn’t hurt. No cake, but maybe a box of doggie treats. As for the vet? Already got his number on speed dial.