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Posted on Apr 22, 2013 in Dear Diary | 26 comments

A Glass Case of Emotions

If you’ve been reading this blog for any reasonably significant amount of time, by now you probably know the following things about me:

1. I seriously love to eat.

2. I seriously love my birthday.

3. I seriously love my dogs.

4. I am otherwise rarely serious about anything.

5. I have a lot of feelings.

And while I actually do have something to post about that falls in line with points 1 & 2 (because, you know, I haven’t posted enough about all the ridiculous amounts of food I’ve been consuming lately or anything), today, I shall be addressing points 3 & 5. Thus, recapping the grand birthday dinner I had with my family on Friday will simply have to wait (my mom has been out of town for the past month, so we waited to celebrate until she got back) because I have other things to report.

SO! Let’s start things off with Saturday night and the first time I cried that night. (I told you: FEELINGS.) My wonderful sister texted me earlier when I was out with Sean, asking me when I’d be home because she wanted to Facetime. Given that there is very little that we sisters cannot communicate via our wicked fast texting fingers (honestly, I think between Jenny and me we could probably beat some kinda record), I was already slightly suspicious that something was afoot. I was a little worried that perhaps my older and wiser sister had befallen the myth that you can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding and my perfect little niece Mia would be getting an Irish twin.

Say what now?

My suspicions arose further when Jenny proceeded to Facetime me within 60 seconds of walking back in the door of my house, all but proving the fact that she had been stalking me via the “Find My Friends” app. And yes, there was indeed a reason for the call, though it was nothing like what I expected. My sister proceeded to put Mia on the phone (for lack of a better image), and, in a voice that sounded suspiciously like my sister’s, just 3 octaves higher, “Mia” asked me if I would do her the honor of being her godmother.

I mean, c’mon. Do I even need to tell you that this is when the waterworks started?

Pull yourself together, woman.

I managed to utter a garbled “Yes!” between sobs of happiness, and then proceeded to watch my sister feed Mia prune juice through an eyedropper 1,400 miles away (TECHNOLOGY!). It was really a very special moment… up until the part where, y’know, she spit up prune juice. Which, coincidentally, also happened to be the part of the evening where I discovered the remnants of a VERY THOROUGHLY DESTROYED packet of Orbit gum on the stairs of my house. Which brings us to our second emotional point of the evening.

Caught in the act.

Oh, the joys of dog ownership. On a routine basis, you might find your dirty underwear strewn about the house, food wrappers fished out from the garbage, or a panic poop in the basement. At least they generally have the decency to act guilty/apologetic about it, although in this particular case Harry didn’t seem to think anything was amiss. Daxter’s guilt, on the other hand, was evident–he does this automatic ears-back rollover thing that is so cute you automagically forget why you’re mad (see above picture). I didn’t think too much of the incident, seeing as how my dogs have eaten a lot worse things than a couple sticks of gum, IMO (like the time Harry ate half a FILET MIGNON off my end table, or when Daxter polished off half a bag of Fizzing Whizbees from Harry Potter World…). In fact, I thought it was funny, and so I posted about it on Instagram and Facebook.

daxter orbit

And it was kinda funny. That is, until I started getting flooded with messages about how sugarfree gum–like Orbit–contains an artificial sweetener called xylitol. And xylitol, unbeknownst to me, is really, REALLY toxic to dogs. Like, not just like “Oh, you probably shouldn’t feed that pizza crust to your dog because they don’t digest wheat as well as humans”-bad, but “Well, now your dog’s blood is being flooded with a huge amount of insulin and his organs are probably going to start failing within the next thirty minutes and HE WILL DIE”-bad.

Yeah… so, in hindsight, I’m gonna go ahead and say that Googling “xylitol dogs” really didn’t do much to help the situation. Enter: Phase 2 of crying (and this is, clearly, not the good kind of crying).

Anyway, needless to say, at this point I am FREAKING THE EFF OUT. Harry and Daxter weren’t exhibiting any strange behavior, but since we didn’t know A) how much gum they actually ate or B) which dog even did the eating, I knew it was better safe than sorry and there was no question as to what to do. Sean and I threw both dogs in the car and zoomed off to the emergency vet. Which, of course, considering my dogs’ proclivity for bad things happening to them, is a route I know all too well at this point.


We got to the vet, I explained the situation (in tears), and they immediately took both dogs into the back to check them out. Meanwhile, I learned that there is an animal poison control hotline that I needed to call (still in tears). They asked me a bunch of questions as to exactly what was ingested, and what the worst-case scenario was in terms of how much gum they ate. Thankfully–THANKFULLY–it turns out that Orbit as a brand has low xylitol amounts, and even if one of my dogs <25 lb. dogs had eaten half a pack (7 pieces), they likely would have been okay. At this point, the vet had already made both dogs throw up, so I did find out that Harry was the sole culprit in terms of actually consuming the gum (though Daxter had a field day with the cardboard wrapper, which I guess explains why he was acting guilty?) but I could take them home that night. I would just have to monitor them for signs of hypoglycemia and my regular vet would likely follow up and want to run some blood tests.

And nobody at the clinic even commented on the fact that Daxter is still pink.

All in all, I realize I got pretty lucky: There were only a few pieces of gum left in the pack, and I have some VERY thoughtful friends and blog readers who alerted me to the danger quickly. Because, honestly, if they hadn’t told me, I might never have known! Although I guess if we’re going that route, I also would not have known if I didn’t constantly exploit my dogs via my various social media channels. So clearly the lesson here is: Post everything about your life to social media!

Oh, c’mon, I kid, I kid. In truth, I really have learned a valuable lesson about the dangers of anything that contains xylitol (which is mainly sugarfree gum, but also some jams, jellies, and baked goods) when it comes to my pets. And to me, the peace of mind in knowing that both my furbabies are okay was worth the outrageously high vet bill… and I say that only, like, 40% begrudgingly.

So there you have it. One Saturday night, MORE than enough emotional roller-coastering to last me until at least the end of the week. Whew. I am emotionally drained just having rehashed the experience for you guys.

Have you ever had a pet medical scare? I feel like at this point I have had more than my fair share with both dogs… It’s all worth it, obviously, but still. Oy.


  1. Oh you poor thing! Although, the title of this post did crack me up. I actually used to work as a tech at an emergency vet, I have seen TONS of pet emergencies. And had a few of my own. Our cat when I was younger had some string hanging out of his mouth one night… I went to pull it out (BAD) and he cried. So we took him to the vet… turns out he had swallowed 7 feet of it! It was wrapped around his intestines and he needed some intense surgery to help him out. That was a rough night šŸ˜‰

  2. ugh that’s the worst!
    my roommate’s yorkie is a serial trash digger, so we’ve had more than our fair share of “what did you EAT?!?!” emergencies, one with gum that thankfully turned out to be not sugar free.
    my schnauz has passed her “eat everything off the sidewalk all the time and get sick every 6 months” phase, but she did have two emergency vet visits, both costing well over $1500 and lots of tears.

    DOGS, i tell ya. glad yours are ok! šŸ™‚

  3. Wow… I got all teary just thinking about Harry and Dax and potentially being lethally ill!!

    Our two furbabies, Taz and Toby, have all had their fair share of vet visits. Taz, though, get so stressed out when we take him to the vet that he pulls his fur out and drools. Well, one time he jumped up on the seat of the chair just as Jeff was sitting down and Jeff sat right on him.. He made the weirdest sound when the air rushed out of him and we were terrified that he might’ve cracked a rib or something like that. He didn’t, and he’s okay, but I honestly thought he might die from being sat on. Scariest night ever.

  4. No big ingestion scares per se but Sunny and Ladybug are prone to diarrhea because apparently they both have uber-sensitive stomachs. Ladybug had been going on day 3 of diarrhea when she started pooping bright red blood on the night of the superbowl and of course, as a dog mom, I’m flippin’ my ish going AHHHH MY BABY IS DYINGGGG. Called the vet completely melting down in tears (Vienna Animal Hospital …thank goodness for their after hours line) and it turns out it was just because she’d been pooping so much her rectum tissue tore but she’d be okay. I regret nothing -_-

  5. Like you, I have two furbabies so my headaches and worries are x2. Thank goodness they are adorable and I love them oodles. Last March they got in a fight and the younger one, Blue, had to get stitches. It turned into a 9 month ordeal, endless antibiotics, the cone of shame forever, drain tubes, a 9 day stay at the vet, and so on. Ugh. Most recently, a few months ago, Blue had a seizure and that was super scary and turned into a week of meds and not being able to leave him alone. He is my problem child. As far as getting into things they shouldn’t, Ozzie won’t get into anything but Blue is the most inquisitive Australian Shepherd ever and is very nosy. But I love them, crazy devils that they are.

  6. Our then-80 lb dog ate an entire one pound bag of dark chocolate M&Ms. I freaked out/cried and called the animal poison control number. Based on his weight, they assured me that he would be okay but might act weird and poop a lot for a while. Our other dog ate a filter and coffee grounds out of the trash and we called our local vet for advice. They said to induce vomiting (hydrogen peroxide to the rescue) and gave us instructions. It worked and he was fine. I understand eating a pound of M&Ms…but coffee grounds?!

  7. Oh, Gretchen, it must have been bad zen for pups this weekend. Thursday it was super, super windy here and as I was taking my dog out for a walk the wind slammed the door shut before we were all the way through and it CUT OFF HER TAIL. I had no idea that the wind was strong enough or door edges sharp enough to do that but it was terrifying. We live in the middle of nowhere so fortunately we looked up a vet emergency clinic when we adopted her but it took us an hour to get there and I was panicked the whole time. She was actually doing really well–panting but not yelping or writhing around or anything, but it was just awful. When we got there the vet said that this is actually a really common injury for dogs with long tails and that they’d just need to amputate up a bit to make sure it was a clean cut. That made me feel a little relieved but not much because my dog is a greyhound and they have funky metabolisms that make anesthesia a really tricky thing for them. She made it through ok, though, and is home and happily recovering, glad for all the medicine she needs to take because it means she gets lots of peanut butter…but OMG the guilt and the fear and the anxiety waiting to hear if she’d be alright. I’m so glad all our pups are ok, and I hope we don’t have to go through anything like this again!

    • Oh my god, Maggie! That is absolutely terrifying — I am SO glad that she is okay, but holy crap!! Talk about your freak accidents — I had no idea that would be possible by a door either! I am so, so sorry that you went through all that. I hope your baby has a quick recovery!

      • Thanks, Gretch, and I’m glad your babies are ok too! It was surreal…I mean, the beauty of dogs is that they’re so happy and trusting, so I think from Temi’s perspective the pain and all the strangers at the clinic were a little scary but now that she’s home she’s pretty much back to her old self. But yeah. Never in a million years did I think dog ownership would involve something like this–I was prepared for the accidental chocolate and grape accidents, but her tail? She’s doing great though, really. So glad that it all turned out ok and that I have such a loving pup who won’t resent me!

  8. Hurley got a concussion one time, and it was the scariest moment of my life. He was being all cute and rolled on his back on the couch and got caught between the cushions. When he tried to right himself he fell off the couch and hit his head on the coffee table. He immediately starting acting strange: his head wouldn’t be still, his eyes wouldn’t focus, and he couldn’t walk without falling over. He kept knocking his head against the couch and I was crying and called Jason, who rushed home. He was shedding like crazy due to stress and only wanted to be in my lap, which is difficult because he weighs 50 pounds. I sang him soothing songs and held him tight until Jason got home.

    We went to the vet and by the time we got there he was fine. he hopped out of the car like nothing had happened.

    He also ate a bunch of my shoes and some Thai lime cashews.

    Dogs are weird.

  9. I will reiterate what was said last night: Don’t. Google. It. Anything that is scary, don’t Google it. You’ll only feel worse.

    Congrats on being a godmother though! I know you will take the task very seriously with a lot of love.

  10. I’m so glad to hear they’ll be okay! I was anxiously awaiting news once I saw you posted on Instagram that you were taking them to the vet.

    We’ve had a couple of pet medical scares, but so far we’ve been lucky that they’ve happened during regular vet business hours. We also have vet insurance to help defray costs of those kinds of things. Once, my schnauzer, Blackberry, passed out – it was really hot, she was pulling on her collar… The dog walker gave her CPR and took her to my vet for me (and then offered to front me the money if I needed it!). I adore that man.

    A couple of years ago one my cats stopped being able to keep any food down – I was worried at first that one of them had a foreign object situation but then the other got sick… They had some kind of reaction to a new treat, which I obviously have never purchased since.

  11. I’m so glad your furbabies are ok! It is so scary dealing with all the things they get themselves into. I’ve been to the Emergency Vet and the regular Vet often with mine. I’ll add sugar free gum to the list of things to keep well out of reach.

    Congrats on becoming a God Mother that is so exciting!!!


    P.S. I’m glad the pups are okay, and even gladder that you’ve coined the term “panic poop,” which I plan to use very much.

  13. I have a Labrador. He will eat anything. Until the day after he ate some socks and then wouldn’t eat the next day. Cue the hysterical calling of every vet in a 25 mile radius (I had just moved to Silver Spring) at 7:30 in the morning to see who would pick up the phone. End up with emergency surgery to remove the sock and a bill I still owe a little bit to my mother for.

    It’s a good thing they are cute isn’t it.

  14. I too had to visit the Hope Center recently as 2 of my dogs had eaten chocolate bars (4 bars total, 2 dark chocolate and one had raisins). That was a 30 hour stay for them. Raisins are VERY toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. These were like the king size bars. Not good at all. I found a disaster when I came home as far as wrappers everywhere! Then while I was cleaning that up vomiting started. Pleasant! Cleaned that up and then checked them into the Hope Center…where sadly I am a frequent visitor as I have a beagle….a really naughty hungry one.

    on the plus side, The Hope Center is amazing!

  15. God where do I begin, how about the time Chloe came into the room with a mysterious broken foot and had to be in a hard cast for 6 weeks…though adorable it was scary and expensive. Or how about the time Shelby decided to down a bottle of Excedrin while Chloe simultaneously ate three chocolate protein bars. Not to mention the time Shelby chewed a pairing knife into tiny shards of metal and rubber. Sometimes I think my dogs are suicidal and it’s hard not to take it personally.

  16. I am SO glad your fur babies are okay. That is such a scary, scary situation! I’ve been through the exact same thing, only my situation involved Joey eating a LOT of Christmas fudge. I called the poison control line and they were like, “Um, yeah. NOT GOOD.” And my poor baby was throwing up constantly. Our local emergency vet is a client-only service (LAME), so we had to drive at like, 1 o’clock in the morning to a 24-hour vet over an hour away.

    It was probably one of the most traumatic experiences I’ve ever been through. Joey made a full recovery and if you want all of the details that I’m too lazy to type out, I recapped it 2 years ago here:


  17. Ah I am glad they are okay!! Jax hasn’t done anything too bad / I am a very unobservant cat owner and am convinced she is just a machine and can handle anything.

  18. I was waiting to hear that everyone was okay after seeing it on Instagram. Seriously I never would have known either – I’ve had dogs eat all kinds of things but who would ever think gum was so dangerous? It sucks to have to learn this kind of stuff the hard way šŸ™

    I did really love the part of this post where you added “and no one commented on the fact that Daxter is still pink.” It’s only funny because he’s okay!

  19. So sorry for freaking you out! I think it’s safe to say that all dog owners know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but sadly not nearly enough have learned about the dangers of xylitol, and since it’s becoming so common in many low-calorie foods, more and more people will be learning the hard way, I’m afraid. Your pups will probably be fine- I’ve seen a few other dogs at the vet clinic where I work who ate a pack of sugarless gum and were treated at The Hope Center or South Paws and never exhibited any long-term effects. We just saw them as follow-ups to check their liver values. All in all, it’s lucky you mentioned something on Facebook! šŸ˜›

  20. My cat is such a little pain in the butt. The worst was when I woke up to find a box of pastries knocked onto the floor, with 1/2 a raisin pastry eaten. I FREAKED out because I remember reading that raisins are toxic to cats. So, for about a solid 5 minutes I was crying panicking. I called the vet who told me to watch her to see if she exhibits any strange behavior, but luckily she was fine.

    There was another incident where I noticed the tips of pieces of candy corn were bitten off. I thought it was my (then) roommate and was really agitated, but then we caught my cat eating them. She literally shoved her face into the candy dish, nibbled off the tops and scurried off.

    She also eats baguettes. I have to put it away immediately or else she’ll start biting through the plastic and take a hunk out of the bread.

    Lesson: My cat is a fatty.

    I’m glad your pups are okay. <3

  21. Have I ever had some crazy pet emergencies. I’ll preface by saying that my Boston Terrier, Clive, is a rescue. He was abandoned in a crate in a house and chewed his way out of both. He was starved, and just abused. SO he has some quirks, one of which being that he eats every meal like it’s his last and is constantly looking for food.

    Last year was the worst. In June, he ate a pack of gym from my purse (we now have a no gum rule). In July, he ate a corn cob and I spent a day following him around with carpet cleaner. And then in September, he gobbled an avocado pit that rolled off the counter while my husband was making dinner. We took him to the vet and they got him to throw up some pieces of stuff we thought *may* have been the pit. But lo and behold a month later, after binge eating 5 lbs of persimmons from my in-laws farm, he puked up the pit. A MONTH LATER!

    So, you’re definitely not the only one.

  22. Haha- if you ever have a child you will quickly learn why the idea of an Irish twin is comical… hopefully I’ll be able to contemplate providing you another niece or nephew sometime in the next 4-5 years šŸ˜‰ I kid… sort of. Anyway, Mia (and myself and Dan) are super excited for you to be her Godmother. We are also all glad that Daxter and Harry are alright- you and your dogs… thank goodness for doggy health insurance! My premiums help pay for your accidents šŸ˜›

  23. Oh, honey. Have you heard our cat story? You’ve seen our adorable kittens on Facebook (although they make considerably fewer appearances these days, now that they’re practically grown up). We got two male orange tabby kittens from a barn cat’s litter back in September. They were as healthy and as playful as can be until we got them fixed a couple months later, when one weekend they both went through a spat of vomiting and diarrhea. Some bug they’d picked up at the spay/neuter clinic, we figured. I wasn’t even in town, but I wasn’t worried – husband’s got it all under control. But by Sunday night when I got home, the cats weren’t any better, so we took them to the emergency vet twenty minutes down the interstate. After my mild-mannered Coriander growled at the vet tech and sprayed my husband’s entire shirt with stanky yellow diarrhea-water, the vet was able to get a stool sample and figure out that he had worms. She started both kittens on a course of de-worming meds. A little anxiety inducing, but I felt much better now that the problem had been identified and a solution purchased. We thought the situation was under control until Coriander stopped eating. While at work later that week, I got a call from my husband (my principal actually had to track me down and hand me her cell, because I wasn’t answering mine) who had Coriander at the vet, where an x-ray showed what looked like a calcified lump in his stomach. His options were 1) operate but he might not make it or 2) let’s just “wait and see what happens.” After bawling my eyes out, I told my husband that I didn’t care how much the operation cost; we couldn’t just do nothing. (I’ve always been the type to have an upper limit of how much I would spent on pets. This cat has me wrapped around his little pinky-claw.) And thank goodness, the operation (which removed a HUGE ball of worms that had caused an impaction just above the sphincter from the stomach to the small intestines) worked. But talk about an emotional basket case in the meantime. Now, five months later, you’d never know Coriander has had major abdominal surgery, and he’s still the sweetest cat ever (which in my mind justifies every penny we spent on him). But he and his brother, though healthy as pigs now, are currently endangering themselves by exploring storm drains under our neighborhood. They’ve already gotten stuck down there twice. Again – emotional basket case. I don’t think it will ever end.

  24. There’s an app for that! It’s called “Om Nom?” and it gives you a rundown of all types of foods, including how bad they, what they do exactly, and what you should do in these situations.


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