Good dog goes bad

I met a friend for a hike through the woods with the dogs a few weeks ago. Everything was fine until we got home and Cookie came over and laid her head on my lap. Oddly. Lolling about. I chalked it up to her undying love for me. Then I got up. And she didn’t.

She tried but she stumbled; then she fell and sprawled out on the kitchen floor. Panic. I tried to coax her but her eyes would look and roll away. I picked her up. She fell down.

I was in an all-out panic. I called the emergency vet. (It was a Sunday, of course.) They flushed her system with charcoal, ran tests and hydrated her. Everything came back normal and Cookie seemed to be coming out of it. No one could figure out what had just happened. We were relieved but bewildered.

I went in Monday morning to pick her up. But they didn’t just hand her back to me. Instead, I was taken back to a bare room with a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling.

I was made to wait. I could hear Cookie’s tail drumming the cage bars. And still, I waited. What was the deal? I started to sweat. I took off a layer, my coat and purse on the floor. More time, more thumping.

Finally, the doc appeared. I practically jumped on her in gratitude and worry. “What made her so sick?” I wanted to know. I was not ready to give up the hunt.

Unfortunately, neither was she.

The vet pulled up her chair. Quite close to me, face to face: “Are you sure there’s nothing Cookie got into?”





“Yes…?” I was starting to doubt myself. Long pause. Things were getting heated and I hadn’t even seen the bill yet.

“THINK, Kandy!” We were on a first-name basis by then.

“OK, OK…” I was buying time, up against the wall. “Wait, I know! We painted. Did she lick the wall?” I was triumphant, bingo.

“No.” She was unmoved.

I was down to my T-shirt by then, wringing with sweat. What was happening?
Finally,  I remembered that we’d passed a party spot out in the woods, a bonfire. When I told the vet it must have been the leftover cans of PBR and bottles of Boone’s Farm, she relaxed.

“But it wasn’t beer,” she declared with satisfaction. “It was pot.”

I almost couldn’t speak and when I did, I never felt so goody-two-shoes, girl-next-door-innocent in my life. “Did you say pot?”

“Pot, a pot brownie or a pot cookie probably,” she said. “I knew it was pot by the way she came stumbling in.”

We shared a good, expensive laugh then.

So it appears that the vet had been waiting for me to confess. I imagined her whole staff on the far side of the door, waiting to hear what kind of story I was going to feed them. But I had no story. The real story was that my dog was now more experienced than me.

The friend I was walking the dogs with that day isn’t just any friend. She’s a friend married to a narcotics cop.

I called her. Indignant.


Five minutes later she sent me a picture of her dog in uniform.

This was a fine opener for the “Say No To Drugs” talk with my boys.

When I was done explaining what Cookie had accidentally gotten into and the horrors of drugs, I asked the boys if they had any questions.

My 11-year-old: “What if someone offers me drugs?”

Me: “Say no thanks and walk (run) away.”

My 9-year-old: “But… what if someone offers me brownies?”

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous says: Reply

    Smart 9 year old!!!! Just have him ask "how organic" are the brownies!

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