Bourjaily: My Dog Ate the _________?

When you have dogs, you spend a lot of time cleaning up after them. In the process, you learn more about their dietary habits than you ever wanted to know. For instance, I can tell you that Jed loves to eat foam earplugs even though I've never actually seen him with one in his mouth.

It could be worse. The earplugs pass through his system intact, and the day-glo foam stands out like little beacons in the backyard, making it easy to spot the messes for clean up.

Ike, my old dog, has a nose for chocolate. A few years ago my mom sent each of my boys a pound of chocolate coins for Christmas. She neglected to tell us what was in the boxes, so on Christmas Eve we put them under the tree with the other gifts. We came home after midnight mass to find Ike had torn open both packages, carefully unwrapped every single coin, and eaten them all.

Chocolate is supposedly deadly poison to dogs, I dialed my vet's emergency number and woke the doctor on call at 1:30 Christmas morning. She was very nice, considering. She asked me what kind of chocolate it was - milk (not so bad) or dark (very bad) - did some calculations and told me two pounds of milk chocolate was nowhere near the lethal dose for a 62-pound setter, although it might be enough to make a 10 pound Chihuahua very sick. To play it safe, she told me give him some hydrogen peroxide to make him throw it back up. (Hydrogen peroxide, I learned that night, works like a charm if you want to induce vomiting in dogs.)

Ike is infamous at my house for devouring the entire double batch of pepperoni balls my wife had made for a school function. Next day's hunt he turned in one of the best performances of his life on roosters, although he had to stop frequently to expel pepperoni. Pam was not amused when I suggested she make pepperoni balls for Ike before every hunt.

I am forever amazed at what dogs can and will eat, so that's today's topic: "My dog at the _____."