By Elizabeth Loupas
Picture a cozy Christmas eve, a silver bowl on the table filled with chocolate kisses wrapped in red and green holiday foil. Picture stepping over to the neighbor’s house for eggnog. Picture coming home and finding the silver bowl knocked off the table and empty, the floor littered with empty shreds of red and green foil, and the two beloved chihuahuas who were spending the night with us already beginning to look bilious. What did we do?
We knew what to do because of a pet first aid class from the American Red Cross. And as the class had taught, we had a pet first aid kit already assembled and close at hand. Those two tiny dogs had 3% hydrogen peroxide syringed down their throats so fast they hardly knew what hit them. After all the chocolate (and a considerable amount of red and green foil) came up, they got soothing swallows of activated charcoal suspension. Within a couple of hours they were fine, if chastened by their Christmas adventure.
That Red Cross pet first aid class saved their lives – they are very small dogs and it wouldn’t have taken much of that chocolate to kill them. Sure, we knew chocolate was toxic to dogs. But the class taught us what to do in case of accidental chocolate poisoning. Most important of all, it taught us to assemble a pet first aid kit, keep everything in it up to date, and keep it in one place so no time is wasted searching for it. The peroxide, the syringes, and the charcoal suspension were there. And we knew what to do with them.
We thought that bowl of chocolates was safe on the table, but we underestimated the determination and climbing ability of chihuahuas. We certainly learned to put chocolate away, no matter how safe it may look – our two beagles are also champions at sniffing out contraband delicacies. Most important, I think, we learned how important it is to be forewarned and prepared for pet emergencies – and we learned it from a pet first aid class presented by the American Red Cross.
Elizabeth Loupas grew up in Rockford, Illinois, and presently lives in a small town outside Dallas. Her debut historical novel The Second Duchess was published March 1, 2011 by Penguin/NAL, with the German edition Die Zweite Herzogin following in April from Rowohlt. She’s presently at work on The Flower Reader, a novel woven around the notorious silver letter-casket of Mary Queen of Scots, a packet of lost quatrains of Nostradamus, and a girl who can read the future in flowers.
This guest post was contributed by the author to Writers for the Red Cross. Writers for the Red Cross is a month-long celebration that brings writers, readers, editors, literary agents and independent bookstores together to raise funds and awareness for the Red Cross during Red Cross Month.