Chrissy has always loved toys. She played endless games of fetch and when she got tired, she would take another stuffed animal into her bed with her. She had even on occasion brought me toys in my bed or into the bath tub! I imagine in her mind she was just trying to bless her babies with gifts when she overloaded the playpen that day.
The next day at work, when I told and retold the story to my friends, I stared to feel badly that I scolded Chrissy. I knew she was a very intelligent dog and she had not really done anything to be disobedient. That guilt sent me right to Petsmart after work! I scoured the dog toy isle touching and squeezing all the toys until I found the perfect one. It was a cow that did not squeak, but Mooed! I was excited to bring it home. Chrissy was nursing her babies when I got home. You could hardly see them for all the stuffed animals that were still in the pen. She raised her head to greet me.
"Hi Chrissy girl!" I said as I came in the door. "Look what I have for you."
I raised the toy up so she could see it. She pulled away from the puppies and jumped out of the pen. I squatted down and showed her the cow. She sniffed and licked it. I pushed it and triggered the sound bite. Her tail started to wag as I handed it over to her. She stood perfectly still for a moment with the new prize in her mouth. Her eyes were going back and forth from me to her pups and back again. I could tell that the wheels in her brain were turning, but I had no idea what she was thinking. All of a sudden, she darted out of the room with her toy. I could hear her nails clicking across the kitchen floor and knew she was running! I just laughed and thought nothing more about it.
Later that day I came back into the den. I glanced down into the playpen and noticed that every single stuffed animal was gone! I just shook my head. Throughout the next several days we discovered that Chrissy had taken all the toys including her newest one and hidden them. Some we found in our closets, under out beds, in the sofa and I even found one under my be pillow! I can only guess that she changed her mind and started viewing her puppies as competition and was actually hiding the toys from them!
Weeks passed and the puppies grew. It was time to move them from the play pen and into a larger whelping box. Since we had a room in the middle of renovation and void of any kind of floor covering, we decided it was the best place to keep the pups until they were sold. I kept a large pitcher of ammonia-water solution at hand and twice a day, I changed their paper and scrubbed the floor with this solution. It made for easy cleaning and access.
A few days into this new routine all was going well. Chrissy no longer had the need to stay with the pups 24 hours a day and she would often come into our bedroom. She fell asleep next to my side of the bed and it was not long before I followed her.
"Julie - Julie!!!...Wake Up Julie!" It was as if someone had thrown a bucket of cold water on me as I tried to regain conscienceness. Don was shaking my shoulder and there was an urgency in his voice.."JULIE!"
"What??" I tried to focus. "What is the matter?"
"What is in that pitcher in the kitchen?" He asked.
"What pitcher?" I said as I continued to wake up and pulled the covers off of myself.
"The pitcher - the orange pitcher... Come on - I will show you." Don said as he grabbed my hand.
As we turned the corner into the kitchen the orange pitcher came into view.
"You did not drink that!" I said raising my voice.
"Yes - I was half asleep and poured myself a glass and drank about 3 big gulps before I realized it tasted funny." He said in a panic.
"No joke Don. That is the ammonia and water I use to clean the puppy box! CALL 911 NOW!"
I did not wait for him. I ran over to the phone and called. They dispatched an ambulance to our home and I stayed on the line with them while they conferred with the poison control department. It was only moments before I heard the ambulance. Each of us accounted the information to the emergency response team.
"How much ammonia was used?" They asked me.
"Not that much. I did not want it too strong so I would make the puppies sick..maybe 1-2 cups to 2 liters of water. It was pretty diluted." I searched the ladies eyes for clues as to what she was thinking.
Don was in the kitchen with the other tech. He asked him about any burning in his throat or nausea. I leaned over and asked the lady I was talking to, "Is he going to be okay?"
"I am sure with that dilution, he will be just fine. He may have some stomach cramps though. If he has any other symptoms, just feel free to call us again. What I can't figure out though is how in the world can you be so tired that you could actually drink anything with ammonia in it!" She said laughing out loud.
A few days later Don's coworkers put a bottle of ammonia on his desk covered with Mr. Yuck stickers!