Do you know how many people don't give their pets the same consideration they would give their children when it comes to keeping them safe from potentially poisonous household products?
Well, you might if you were on hold with the ASPCA's poison control hotline like I was recently.
They are happy to lecture about all the things you’re probably doing wrong as you wait for an operator to tell you whether you are going to be making a trip to doggy emergency room. But only after you hand over a major credit card, promising to pay $65 for their invaluable service, which might help keep your obviously unloved pooch from perishing.
It all started when my husband noticed the toilet bowl was empty save for a stain of blue on the bottom.
"Did you clean the toilet," he asked sheepishly?
"Uhm ... I ... don't remember. I think I did."
Well ... I don't think you flushed.
So there I was, on the telephone holding a bottle of "natural" toilet bowl cleaner, ready to read off the ingredients to the person who would save me from the pre-recorded lecture I was getting instead of muzak.
The minutes ticked away.
Why is "WON'T HURT THE ENVIRONMENT OR YOUR FAMILY" prominently listed, in large print, on the front of the bottle and "in case of ingestion do not induce vomiting, contact poison control and your doctor immediately" in teensy-tiny print on the back?
For the same reason shampoo bottles still give instructions. The dolts among us wouldn't know whether to "wash, rinse and repeat" or "brush along gumline in a circular motion" without them.
I had called our vet, whose after-hours message instructed me to call the veterinary emergency clinic, you know ... in case of emergencies.
Which I did next.
The folks there said there was "probably" nothing to worry about, but to be sure I should "probably" call the ASPCA's emergency hotline and they would have the definitive answer.
Still on hold.
Do I let her drink clean water, flush it out?
Do I make her eat food?
Do I have to get her stomach pumped?
OK, ew. Don't want to think about that. ....
I'll go online and check the ingredients myself.
“Sodium Lactate” is sandwiched in between "if this is swallowed" and "call a doctor."
Let's check with the Doctor Google School of medicine on that substance, shall we?
Naturally occurring salt in fermentation process.
The dog starts to bark her usual FEED ME bark.
This is a dog who has eaten her weight in chocolate, onions and grapes in the 15 years we've known her. She has chewed through countless sneakers, eaten carrion and dead crabs off the beach. I've lost track of all the literal garbage that she's ingested.
I hang up the phone.
"What'd they say?" my husband asks.
"I was still on hold when I hung up. I found their household cleaning list on the website and I figured she'll be alright. It's diluted and she's an iron stomach. Right now I bet she'd like a dish soap chaser."
The dog wagged her tail in agreement.
I think she was trying to tell me "Mountain Fresh" is her favorite.