Monday, February 16, 2009

Orbit Gum & Disaster Adverted

Husband Mel's recent allergy testing showed him allergic to Aspartame, so I went to the market and bought an assortment of gum for him to try. My daughter, Edith-Sarah, and I decided to try one of the packs with an orange flavor, leaving the gum in the car so we can take it to Mel's office later. Then she and I ran errands taking our family dog, Mayim, who loves to come along for the ride when it is not too hot outside.

We came back to find an empty pack of gum on the back seat. Mayim had eaten 12 of the 14 pieces and most of the packing. Just enough of the cardboard was left for us to read the name "Orbit" and my daughter remembered the "hazardous to dogs" warning I told her about from our dog list.

We came home and I called our vet's answering service, who has us call an emergency vet located about 20 minutes away. Instead of driving to Emergency, they had us call ASPCA Dog Poison Control Center. The people at the call center are great and gave me advice about how to dose Mayim by giving her three pieces of bread and then getting her to drink 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, putting cream cheese at the bottom of a small bowl to entice her to drink the liquid.

We were not sure how old the hydrogen peroxide was, so Mel went to the store to buy another bottle. Nothing happens with the first dose. We did a second dose with the brand new bottle -- more walking and waiting. After 45 minutes, we finally saw some serious vomiting. It was my joy to closely examine the puddles and count the paper gum wrappers.

Now to the punch line. I've got a special number to call the Poison Control Center to update them about Mayim's situation. I'm talking to a vet. She says to me, "It looks like this was your first time calling in." Yes. She asks "Portuguese Water Dog?" Yes. "Your dog is seven?" Yes. She says "We've been waiting for you to call."


The vet laughs. She says "there aren't many Portuguese Water Dogs compared to the number of other dogs we help, but they certainly make up a large part of our business. They are quite ambitious about what they will find to eat... and not too particular... You're probably the only PWD owner who hadn't called us yet." She laughs again.

I was instructed to watch Mayim to make sure she didn't start acting "drunk" and if she did, I was to immediately give her something very sweet to eat, like syrup, and get her to the emergency vet. Mayim had an uneventful evening and has seemed her normal self since, so crisis adverted because of my very observant teenage daughter. I'd forgotten all about the Orbit warning. Thank goodness Mayim had the good sense to not eat the entire wrapper. I would have never remembered that I left gum in the car -- let alone the brand. I wouldn't have had any idea why she was sick...

Yes, the same daughter helped save Mayim, last night saved the life of a 42-year old friend who fell into a diabetic coma. Now that was quite an eventful number of hours! Edith-Sarah was amazing -- getting help, directing paramedics, providing information about the friend, and completely holding it together until we got home and she began to shake uncontrollably. I'd say it's been an amazing 24 hours for a 14 year old. She saved a human life and probably Mayim's. Wow! Thank you Edith!

From one very grateful mom to her wonderful her daughter Edith and an infamous will-eat-anything PWD who looks very cute when she is being very bad, Thank You!