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Before I get into what happened yesterday, a couple important points: In the first two years of his life, Emmett swung from emaciated and malnourished to stuffed to his brindled brim by a well-intentioned foster mom. This was Emmett at a whopping 82 pounds:
He’s a very healthy 65 pounds now. But anyone who has a dog who experienced starvation knows what can happen to some of these pups… they will eat anything and everything in sight. It makes sense, of course, the old feast-or-famine mentality, something deep in their ancestral DNA that drives them to gorge just in case lean times are ahead. Our kitchen is spotless because anything left out will be devoured the second we walk out the door. Over the years, Emmett’s compulsion to eat has led him to score entire loaves of bread off my parents’ counters, a cranberry-scented holiday wreath (x-rays on that one), three pounds of my sister’s dogs’ food (yakked in the yard shortly thereafter), an entire bottle of Advil dug out of my purse (except the label, oddly enough; stomach pumped for that one), and even more odder items that I have blocked from my memory.
The second point before the story: We have a tiny garden in our backyard, raised a foot or so off the ground and encircled by another three-foot high fence with the main goal to keep Emmett from sticking his face in there.
It worked fairly well last year (not so well for our containers of tomato plants… strangely we now have tomato plants sprouting in Emmett’s favorite poop spot). So we planted our garden again this year, then decided to start a neat little compost bin. We didn’t have the bin yet, so we’ve been storing our food scraps, coffee grinds, and other rotting materials in an old Costco-sized coffee canister. With a lid. Behind the fence. Then we put up a second fence to keep the boys out of this section of yard that wasn’t growing any grass, just to give our seedlings time to sink in before they ripp it all up again.
Which brings us to yesterday.
As I was heading out for the afternoon, I let the boys out back and went upstairs to grab my purse. By the time I got back (what could that be? two minutes? three?), Emmett had managed to get his leg or neck or something through the fence far enough to knock the lid off the compost bin and tip the entire bin over toward him. I honestly don’t know how he did it.
In the span of that couple of minutes, he managed to devour about a gallon of rotted food and yard scraps, including several incredibly toxic bits – coffee grounds and avocado pits – not to mention the simple fact that all the food was rotting.
So we capitalized on his inability to not eat anything, put a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide in a bowl (a trick picked up at the Red Cross First Aid for Pets seminar), held it out for him, and he slurped it right up. Ten minutes later, every single scrap of food came right back up. And, boy, was Emmett miserable. And kind of pissed. Droopy head, droopy tail, watery eyes. It was sad; he was really hurting.
But I doubt he learned his lesson.
But I sure did… No matter how hard we try to keep food away from him, he will always find a way. So we just need to be extra diligent, pay even better attention, and keep a fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide on hand.