I came back from a nice walk in the creek this afternoon to discover Mina sitting calmly at the window, awaiting my return. Suddenly, with a horrendously ominous feeling, I remembered the chocolate craving I'd had earlier in the day which I'd satisfied by buying a Toblerone chocolate bar and eating a few triangles. And then I walked over to the plastic drugstore bag lying where I had carelessly left it on the table. My Crest White Strips were there and intact. But the chocolate was gone and I knew where I'd find the remains - and did - torn apart on the blanket where the dogs sometimes sleep in the bedroom. "Careless" takes on a new meaning when you are around my 10-pound Mina. Careless means leaving the chairs too close to the counter because Mina might fancy a scavenging trip around the counter. Careless means leaving the door to the closet where we store the trash even a touch less than completely closed. Careless might mean failing to inform any visitors that should they have any gum, snacks, lip balm, or other edible items anywhere in their belongings, that it would be safer to place those items out of human reach.
She only eats edible things, mostly human food. Mina has never enjoyed typical bad dog behavior, like getting into the Advil bottle or chewing the furniture. But she has a tremendous propensity for scouting out any food product once we have left the house. She will also scale great distances, like from the floor to the counter top, to reach her goal. Being a tiny dog, her talent is both admirable and terrifying.
Therefore, leaving a Toblerone bar out for her to discover (which I did completely unknowingly) was beyond careless. It bordered on wrecklessness or animal abuse.
After discovering the remains in the bedroom, I gathered Mina in my arms and proceded to pace around the room. She's done things like this before, so I wasn't in a full panic. She ate seven chocolate cupcakes once with no negative side effects. I know it takes a lot of chocolate to seriously hurt a dog, so decided to look up what I could on the internet. When all I found were scary sites that didn't provide any helpful information ("NEVER feed your dog chocolate." "Dogs should never even taste chocolate." "After indulging in the Christmas candy, Daisy, the beloved yellow lab, went into a nearly irreversible coma.") I called my vet's office, a place I adore.
I attempted to convince them that I was calm as I struggled with tears, Mina, who's little body was still producing a normally beating heart, thank the lord, in my arms (I constantly checked her vitals like we were in an ER and I the star of one of those high-stress doctor TV shows).
3.2 ounces. That was the amount of the entire bar, information I gained after fishing the torn container out of the trash where I'd (again with the carelessness) thrown it away.
"Mina. Mina don't die," I told her while on hold. They were calculating the toxic level of milk chocolate for a ten-pound dog. "Don't die. Please."
I often tell people that if anything were to happen to Mina, I wouldn't be able to go on. While an exaggeration, there is some truth in it. Some part of me would damaged forever. She barks at strangers. She attacks other dogs. She won't go out when it's raining, and consequentially poops on the floor. But she loves me. Mina creeps into bed to sleep next to me when she thinks I can't hear her. She jumps onto the couch when I've got her leash out because it is easier for me to reach her there. She is smart and mischeivous and small. Don't die. Don't consume toxic items, little dog.
It turns out, I found after waiting for what seemed an eternity on the phone, that the toxic level for a dog Mina's size is eight ounces. Since she definitely ate less than three, the worst I should expect is for her to have an upset stomach. I told the woman in the vet's office thank you about ten times, and calmed down.
She will be ok, but I'll be watching for any signs of distress, just in case. I'm sure it was worth it for her - the brief but intense moments of pleasure ripping the box apart and enjoying some Toblerone. That stuff is damn good.