Ginger and Poisoning
A Sequel

My recent essay regarding my relationship with Ginger was written last week. All that needed to be done was proofing it before sending it to my web admin person. However, I had to take Ginger back to Hobart Animal Clinic again. We went to the clinic’s emergency room at around 10 pm. This trip was because Ginger had eaten some chocolate, which is poisonous for dogs. I decided not to add this new adventure to my previous essay about Ginger. The one posted on Monday was a reflective article looking back on our time together. This article is about the present day.

Let me set the scene for you. Ginger follows me around whenever I move around in my home. She is interested in anything that I am doing. I was in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner. On the countertop, there was a small dish with several chocolate-covered pretzels. I don’t recall what I was doing when I looked away. Nonetheless, Ginger smelled the chocolate and thought it was time to sneak an after-dinner treat. I didn’t notice what Ginger did until I discovered several pretzels were gone.

I quickly realized that Ginger had successfully gotten some pretzels without my noticing. When I realized what she had done, I was panicky and worried. Ginger has been on a stringent diet for several years due to her inflammatory bowel disease. She eats nothing that isn’t based on a prescription, including her dog food. Also, I had two other Irish Setters years ago and knew chocolate is poisonous for dogs.

It took me less than five minutes to get my keys and put Ginger in the car. We were going to her clinic again. The distance between my home and the clinic takes about twenty minutes. I have been on that road several times with Ginger, thinking this might be the last time I would take her to the vet. The thoughts raced through my mind about hoping I could get there before it was too late and Ginger died on the ride.

The other thought that raced through my mind was this scene.

Gastric lavage

Gastric lavage

This is a photo from the Internet about a medical procedure of pumping water into a dog’s stomach and removing water with whatever was in the stomach that was toxic. The medical term for this procedure is gastric lavage.

I got to the clinic’s emergency room around 10:00 pm, and Ginger was still alive. A tech took Ginger and me into the exam room and asked what was wrong. I told her about Ginger getting a couple of chocolate-covered pretzels. I told her she might have had less than a teaspoon of chocolate, but I couldn’t be sure. The tech went out and talked to the vet on duty that night, who was working on another emergency situation.

Several minutes later, the tech returned and said Ginger would be all right without seeing the vet. What? I didn’t want to take Ginger home and have her die during the night. The tech could see that I was worried. She explained that a small amount of chocolate inside an 85-pound Irish Setter wouldn’t cause her any serious problems. She might have some diarrhea or vomiting, but Ginger would be fine.

I replied hesitantly, “Well, what would you do if Ginger was your pet?” The tech said she’d take Ginger home and would not worry about Ginger’s health. I thanked the tech and reluctantly left with Ginger. The next morning Ginger was still alive without any ill effects due to the chocolate. We both made it through another potential trauma.