Have you heard that dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate? I have too, but I never really believed that it could make them as sick as people said, until now. On Tuesday night, in a frenzy of suitcases, counted pairs of underwear, hair products, and a flurry of packing activities, I decided to become domestic. I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I had saved the bag of chips (which is a feat in itself – normally they never see the cookie dough because the bag is violated and chips are stolen bit by bit from the bag in the pantry). Originally I had planned to bake a batch on the first snow day, but there weren’t any this year, so I thought it would be nice to chomp on some homemade cookies as we traveled to Arkansas. Singing a happy tune, I became the “good mom” and baked away. These lovely domestic sounds could be heard throughout the kitchen:
“Damn, where is the butter? We don’t have enough? I am not running to the store at this time of night! I’ll use half butter and half shortening.”
Ok. Back on track, humming away.
“There isn’t any more flour? What the hell is going on? I finally decided to be all motherly and the baking fairies have trashed my supplies!”
I found some cake flour and used that with the all-purpose flour that was left. I baked them up, and they tasted ok. Not as good as normal, but what can you expect with two major substitutions?
We finished packing and went to bed. I had to work a half-day on Wednesday so this meant that DH and the girls would be putting all of our gear into the camper and the van. This was dangerous. It required careful, considerate placement of all necessary items to ensure that nothing important would be left behind (like the time DH treated me to a camping weekend where I didn’t have to lift a finger – he packed everything for our 4 day trip, except underwear for me – I wore my swimsuit while my single pair of undies was washed and dried each day. Now, each trip begins with “Did you pack undies?” I will never let him forget that one. Oh, yes. He did pack underwear for himself on that trip.) Everything was organized for this trip. If it was on the kitchen table, the dining room table, or the “suitcase packing zone” it needed to be put in the van. The cookies were stashed carefully on the dining room table, safe from doggie noses. Or so I thought.
When we woke up Wednesday morning, we found the bag of cookies shredded on the dining room floor. Chocolate chips and crumbs were ground into the carpeting. We found the Beagle resting happily on our bed, stealing most of the space, as usual. She realized the gig was up and tried to look apologetic. I was pissed. Only 10 of the 36 cookies were left, and those cookies looked like they had been contaminated with dog drool, or sniffs at the least. I packed them anyway… my hard work would not be thrown out. We didn’t eat them for three days. That’s the biological limit for doggie contamination, right?
At noon, the camper crew picked me up at school and we were off. I knit away on my mother’s sock, listened to the radio as the girls watched a DVD on the computer (ain’t modern traveling grand?) and we counted off the miles. We stopped in Marion, Illinois – after nine hours of driving. We got a cheap room at the Super 8 and brought in our gear to settle down for some sleep at 10:30. (If you have done the math and figured out that noon plus nine hours does not equal 10:30.. we had to stop for a camper part that wasn’t working correctly – the dealer was right on the highway, we stopped for supper at our favorite travel restaurant, Cracker Barrel, and had two other pottie breaks)
After getting the room and the girls set up and ready, I got my pj’s on and was about to climb into the bed when my youngest daughter announced that the dog had just pooped on the floor. What? She NEVER does that! One look at her and my DH and I both realized that she was miserable. She looked sick. This was not good. We cleaned up the mess, took her outside to have her go pottie again (she didn’t) and then tried to figure out how to prevent accidents while we slept. We left her long leash on and tied it around my oldest daughter’s waist (she volunteered to make sure the Beagle was properly taken care of – she plans to become president of PETA) This way, we would know if she got off of the bed for ANY reason, and we could take her outside BEFORE an accident. Then we tried to sleep. The Beagle whined and groaned all night. She tried to jump off of the bed once and gagged as her collar cut off her air. I jumped to help her out. There was little sleeping going on. In the morning, we packed up and headed out. The Beagle refused to eat (what a surprise.. there was about a pound of cookie dough wrecking havoc in her digestive system), but drank and did her job before we left. On the road again, I happily knit on the sock. About an hour into the drive, the oldest daughter started screaming, “The dog! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! The dog! Oh, my God!”
Why is it that kids will go on screaming like this for 20 minutes while parents scream back, “What is it?” “What is it?” over and over without getting any reply except, “Oh, my God?” Another mystery of life.
The Beagle was peeing in the van. Big time. All over the floor. The carpeted floor. And we were between exits. There was nothing to do. At the next exit we pulled over and surveyed the damage. It was bad. We were lucky that she chose to do this “thing” in a spot where the pee didn’t get on anything else. Only the carpeting. It was soaked. It smelled, and we were driving into warmer weather. It was getting warmer every hour. This was bad. The Beagle looked worse. We started talking about visiting a vet in Arkansas as soon as we arrived if she didn’t get better by the evening. We prepared the girls that this could be very bad for an 11-year old dog. Her eyes were sunken and she looked as though she had already lost weight. We couldn’t even be mad at her, we just felt sorry for her. There wasn’t one complaint from anyone about the smell or the wet carpeting. We drove on.
After setting up camp (more on that story later), the Beagle was perking up. She loves camping. She dug around in the leaves and set her butt down very gingerly to sleep. Obviously, her butt was hurting her and she was still miserable, but she seemed to be through the worst of it. She was pretty much her normal self for the rest of the trip, just a little extra thirsty and a light eater.
What have I learned from this?
I will never bake cookies again! Or, maybe I will find a better place to store them before a trip? Ok. I’ll bake again, but not for awhile.