No, I know you’re not supposed to give your dog chocolate. It’s bad for them. In all sorts of forms. Even this kind.
It once was a Christmas decoration, of sorts. This stuffed animal, which looked more like a reindeer, but with the name “Chocolate Moose” embroidered on its belly, came in a Christmas basket from a charity auction about four years ago. It smelled like chocolate. Thus its name. This past Christmas I set the little guy out on a small chair. Checkers, our golden retriever, took immediate notice of the new guy in the room.
Time after time he’d get the moose off the chair.
I moved the moose up to a higher bench.
He took the moose off the bench.The dog is tall, after all.
The “leave it” command no longer worked.
Face it. The stuffed animal smelled good. Checkers liked it. I relented, gave in, and decided to let him have the moose. He just wanted to carry it around and cuddle with it. (unlike the Talkmaster’s dearly-departed Coco who had an obscene affection for stuffed animals).
Then the stuffing started to appear. And the chocolate scent packet.
Every day we were picking up white fluff, until I finally de-fluffed the darn thing, giving Checkers back an unstuffed animal. That was okay. He was content.
Whenever anyone visited and Checkers approved, he’d go get Moose and offer it to the newcomer as a sign of friendship. He carried Moose with him like Linus with his blanket.
In early February Checkers became sick. He couldn’t keep down any of his dog food. I thought he was eating too fast. I read about dog bloat. I bought a specially formed bowl by Kong that is supposed to slow down a dog’s eating. We started feeding him smaller portions at a time. After a trip to the vet, an Rx, monitoring, and changing his food, he improved.
Until last weekend. The same thing. Again I thought it was the dog food. Research led me to cook him chicken, rice, and green beans. The dog was eating better than our family. I thought that was doing the trick until even THAT wouldn’t stay down. Over the weekend, I eliminated whole foods and put him on a liquid diet: chicken stock, watered down oatmeal, or grits. Last night he even had a “chicken smoothie.” Yeah, that sounds disgusting, but he lapped it up. And it stayed down.
The good thing is he wasn’t acting lethargic, only hungry. But I dared feed him for fear that four hours later I’d be seeing that meal again. Bleh!
Finally Monday morning rolled around and a trip to the vet delivered us with the answer. I’ll spare you the details of how she found it, but the vet said, “It looks like string or twine.”
I racked my brain and thought, he’d eaten string beans. Nah, that couldn’t be it. I didn’t think he’d destroyed a baseball recently. Then it dawned on me. Moose. Moose had become nothing more than a piece of furry fabric. Moose wasn’t whole anymore. Moose had been disappearing, and I’d not thought anything about it, since its stuffing was gone.
All this while the very item we’d been giving for comfort had been making him sick. The more fabric he ingested, the more clogged his digestive track became. No room for food. So at this point, I think my furry beast is on the mend. And Moose? He’s gone to take the celestial dirt nap, and we’ll have one less Christmas decoration next December.