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The Barbecued Ribs Fiasco

A Poopoo platter. Not my picture.

A Poopoo platter. Not my picture.

               As a kid, I was a fan of the Poopoo platter at the Chinese restaurant. I liked the blue fire and the drama of the contraption brought to our table, and the fried, oily, sweet and sticky finger foods on the trays. My brother and I also really liked saying “poopoo” out in public.

As I got older, I learned how to cook lighter versions of my Chinese food staples, but every once in a while, when I’m tired and grumpy and do not want to cook, Mom and I order take out Chinese. I’m usually careful to order non-fried dishes, with light sauces, and tons of extra vegetables. If I get dumplings they’re steamed and filled with vegetables. But sometimes the crappiness of the day is so awful that it requires extra special yummy, greasy, sweet food with no redeeming value. Like barbecued ribs, which are, only slightly, a more grown up take on the food in the Poopoo platter.

Before we adopted Butterfly, Cricket was an only dog, and took advantage of her role as only grand dog as often as possible. She knew her best bet was to sit on Grandma’s lap, because Grandma’s guilt buttons are stronger than her hunger buttons. So as soon as Mom had finished with one of her barbecued ribs, she handed it off to Cricket. We were eating special food, Mom said, why shouldn’t Cricket?

Cricket and Grandma sharing a snack.

Cricket and Grandma sharing a snack.

and another snack

and another snack

I knew that chicken bones were dangerous for dogs from way back, because someone, probably my brother, had given me a vivid description of how the bones could splinter in my dog’s throat or intestines, and pop them like balloons. But since I’d spent a large part of my childhood kosher, I had no idea what to expect of pork bones. I assumed they were the same as beef bones. They looked the same to me.

            Cricket sat on the floor with a bone between her paws and not only did she clean off the fat, and gristle, she started to eat the bone itself, crunch, crunch, crunch until it disappeared. There were no signs left, no garbage, just some stubborn oily stains on the hard wood floor. The first one went so well, I gave her my own leftovers. That way I could leave all of the extra fat on the bone and not feel guilty for wasting food.

            I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of retching. I called Cricket over and rubbed her back, and she went back to sleep next to me. But in the morning, there were two piles of predigested bone on my carpet and one spot where, clearly, there had been puke and it had been re-ingested.

            Much scrubbing later, I found older piles downstairs on the wood floor, and as the day went on the vomiting continued but became less productive, just puddles of spit, preceded by those awful, whole body spasms. I was afraid some of Cricket’s vital organs would be left in those piles on the floor. But after all of that, she was smiling, and asking for Parmesan cheese on her dog food and wondering when we were going to have ribs again.

            Sometimes you can only learn a lesson in the most vivid way possible. Just reading it as a list of no-no foods isn’t convincing, but seeing your dog turn inside out does the trick.

I try to be careful about what Cricket and Butterfly eat now. I looked up multiple lists of no-no foods and cross referenced and studied. But Cricket still prefers to eat whatever her Grandma has touched, and blessed for her. She would rather eat a piece of Grandma’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich than a flurry of Parmesan cheese on her dog food that never passed through Grandma’s hands. Food is love; food is relationship, even for dogs.

Butterfly and Cricket, begging for pizza.

Butterfly and Cricket, begging for pizza.

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

64 responses »

  1. Thank goodness it wasn’t the really hard way to learn. It’s so damned tempting to share everything though 😉

    Reply
  2. Aw sweet photo at the end and a lovely conclusion! What a lucky escape! Thank goodness she was okay. : ))

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    • We have to be so careful with Cricket. She scavenges in bags and chairs for every last crumb of things she is not supposed to eat. And she sees no causal relationship when her belly stats to hurt.

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      • Oh dear! Stay well all of you! : ))xox

      • That’s my Missy. Once I discovered she’d been in the pantry and shared granola bars with the other dogs. There were wrappers all over the yard.

      • If I tried to give Cricket granola bars she’d sneer at me. She believes healthy food is for the other dogs. Now, if she could open the fridge for herself, we’d be in real trouble.

  3. i love this! and i have a 70 pound female who even got into trouble with a beef bone; her jaws are so strong she was able to swallow a whole splinter of it; for three days she lay on her bed curled up & drank a LOT of water, not eating much at all. finally she regurgitated that splinter! i didn’t know what the problem was, until she showed me! I LOVE DOGS. it is no coincidence that “dog” & “god” have the same three letters (in english of course)

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  4. Reblogged this on Linda's New Garden & Wildlife Journey and commented:
    JUST AWESOME POST

    Reply
  5. Our dog, CJ, now gone, was a fussy eater. Hated all the kibble recommended by the vet. She would eat it if we sprinkled some grated cheese on it. She knew when cheese was taken out of the fridge.
    Towards the later part of her life we made ground lean beef and mixed with equal parts of boiled rice. This she loved and it was vet approved. We would cook up loads of beef and freeze in meal sizes as well as boiling huge pans if rice and freezing them ready to. So preparing the daily meal was quick, easy and CJ approved

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    • Cricket would love if we just roasted a chicken for her every couple of days, but I haven’t given in yet. And Butterfly loves dog food. Really, she thinks it’s the best candy every. She turns up her nose at most of the foods Cricket begs for.

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  6. My dog is a little beggar too. She is now 13 and there are dire consequences if I share any table scraps with her ( except a bit of cooked egg).

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  7. Great story…we angst and angst about the food we give our five at Casa de Canterbury and try to be so careful and last night Tennis Ball Obsessed Chelsea the Labrador retriever came flying through the doggie door from the back yard and proudly plopped down a dead bird between Pretty and Slow who looked stunned and then went ballistic. Alas, the poor little bird was, of course, dead and mangled but we all learned there are some instincts that trump healthy kibble. Much to our dismay. 😦

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    • I had a bird chasing dog when I was a kid. I watched her jump off the porch and catch little birds in flight. thank God she never felt a need to present them to me. Cricket and Butterfly are less likely to bring such gifts. Cricket thinks tiny spiders are terrifying.

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  8. this is a great blog, and i understand the ‘learning what to do via the learning what not to do’ route. ) i know it well. hope cricket is feeling better )

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  9. It’s so difficult to hold yourself from sharing the food you eat when they give that cute…’can I have some please???’ look…. My Lab ZERO wins me over each time!

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  10. I’m glad Cricket is ok :o) Sometimes it isn’t easy to say “NO” to this begging Doggy-eyes …

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  11. Once when my sister and I were living together, we threw a party and unbeknownst to us, someone fed her dog doritos all night. well, we figured it out pretty quickly in the morning, as there was dog vomit and worse all over the carpet. so, i don’t know if doritos are on the list of what not to feed your dogs, but it should be. or maybe only in moderation.

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  12. After my bout with pancreatitis, I get NO fat. I wouldn’t have had the problem.

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  13. How terrible, I mean I’m glad Cricket recovered fast, but that sounds really scary. My dogs eat birds or mice sometimes and even whole rabbits, but they usually get no problems because of that. I think the problem with bird bones exists only if they are cooked. And since I’m vegetarian they rarely care to beg, because I don’t eat much that would be tempting.

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  14. hello cricket its dennis the vizsla dog hay i am glad yoo hav rekuverd frum yore barbekyood ribs ekspeeryense i wil keep this in mind the nekst time dada has barbekyood ribs and only beg for the meat porshun of the fud!!! ok bye

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  15. vivid!
    As a side question and as an Aussie who is not used to exotic sandwiches, what kind of jam (jelly in your part of the world) goes best in a peanut butter and jelly (jam) sandwich?
    Terry

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    • Hmm. Cricket prefers raspberry. Her grandma likes the fancy blackberry jam. But, really, peanut butter goes with everything: celery, beef, feet, just ask Cricket.

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    • actually, in the u.s. of a. we have BOTH jam and jelly: jam is more fruitlike, with actual visible fruit particles; jelly is this strained, clear stuff that kids who are afraid of pulp will accept

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      • Recently there has been a bit of a distinction here between jam and spreadable fruit. I’m not absolutely sure what the two definitions are and anyway I like both. As you probably know, jelly is a whole other thing here.
        Very much a part of all our childhoods. Mums like it because it is an easy desert, and adults like it because it is an important ingredient in wine trifle (where else could you find a desert that has a use for stale cake!)

  16. I love the notion of dogs preferring food with love! My cats, too. On another note, ya wanna see dog puke, try leaving out a bag of crab leg shells when you go to sleep.

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  17. I think we have all made mistakes in bringing up our babies. We do indeed – live and learn! 🙂

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  18. (sigh) bones…so sweet…so tempting…so tummy ache…

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  19. I’m absolutely certain my dogs would never have made it in the wild. They have allergies, special dog food, pillows, blankets, toys, the remote, and more expensive doctor visits than my children.

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  20. The biggest fiasco “snacks” any of my dogs ever ate was when my little poodles who died last year, Allie and Mouschi, broke into the cats’ litter box and gorged on cat poo. I had vomit and poop Everywhere, including the bed. The stench was eye-watering. Those two little angels had many adventures, but that was the smelliest.

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    • One more reason not to have cats, aside from the blistering allergies. I can see my Lhasa Apso going for those cat poops big time. When she first came home in November, she thought her own poop was yummy like ice cream. Oh God, even the memory…

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  21. Surely they could have thought of a better name for the Poopoo platter! And your dogs are super cute!

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    • Clearly, whoever was helping write and translate those early Chinese food menus was sleeping on the job. But then again, Cricket’s breed, a mix of Cocker spaniels and poodles, is nicknamed Cockapoo. And i have to say that out loud to other humans, regularly.

      Reply
  22. Sorry you found the hard way, but must admit I have done a similar thing in the past . Trouble is they do Love to eat what you are eating..

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  23. So glad Cricket escaped from what could have been a major problem.
    Please keep corncobs away from her too.
    An old dog of mine scavenged one from somewhere and we had a three month touch and go nightmare because of it.
    Luckily I was also insured, otherwise I’d have been in debt for £7,000

    Reply
  24. Cricket sounds pretty hearty for such a tiny thing………..glad she is still with you! Dogs are precious, I am enjoying every day with mine. Cheers!

    Reply

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