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Be Okay

by David Graham 10 months ago in Short Story · updated 9 months ago

A teenager unwittingly feeds the family dog a slice of chocolate cake and has to deal with the repercussions

Image by diapicard from Pixabay

I couldn’t take my eyes off the chocolate cake, or rather the one slice of it that remained. It had been my little brother's birthday cake, how was I supposed to know a slice of it would be poisonous for dogs? Nobody had told me that, it’s not fair that I should get in so much trouble. Especially considering how upset I am, Jack was my best friend, not mum and dad’s.

That’s why I should have known not to give him chocolate! I pulled out my phone, a simple Google search brought up the following: Chocolate is poisonous to dogs.

Why had I not done a simple Google search! I knew better than to just feed him something without checking whether it was good for him or not!

But he had just looked at me so innocently with his puppy dog eyes, and it had just seemed so harmless letting him have a slice of chocolate cake.

My heart skipped a beat, I just read the following on Google: 20 ounces of milk chocolate, 10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, and just 2.25 ounces of baking chocolate could potentially kill a 22-pound dog.

God, I’ve killed him! That’s all I could think!

Relax, stay calm. You don’t know that!

That’s right, I didn’t. He could still be all right. And 22 lbs? Jack was way heavier than that, he was a Labrador and a chubby one at that, he had to weigh at least 70 lbs.

But he was young, barely 2 years old, and it said that younger ones were at higher risk. What had I done!

Wait, relax! Take a moment and think: how much chocolate did you actually give him?

That was a good question, and it was not the only good question, which type of chocolate had I given him? Was the cake made using milk chocolate, semisweet chocolate, or baking chocolate?

Surely it had to be baking chocolate, you bake cakes, right? So baking chocolate had to have been used, right? But how much baking chocolate would have been in a single slice of cake? I had thrown out the box so had no chance of knowing! I thought about looking through the bin, trying to find the box.

What was the point? It had happened now, it wouldn’t change anything, and it had to be bad otherwise my parents would have let me go to the vets with them rather than making me stay here and babysit my little brother.

**

I was lying on the sofa. It was nearly dinnertime and my parents were still not back, that meant that they had been gone the entire afternoon. But I felt a little bit better, baking chocolate was dark chocolate, so pure chocolate, no added sugar or added flavours or anything. In my family we all hated dark chocolate so it couldn’t have been made with baking chocolate, it had to have been made with milk chocolate, or maybe semisweet chocolate. I wished I could find out which but after searching through the bin – I know, I just couldn’t help myself, I had to know – after searching through the bin it was pretty clear it was not there, my parents must have taken it to the vets with them. Made sense.

**

Yet another never-ending hour had passed by, I had tried texting my parents, furious with them for not having provided me with an update, I mean how could they leave me here in silence for this long, but the moment I had sent the texts I had heard the chirping of a phone. Both of my parent’s phones sat where they always sat when they were at home: on the kitchen bench. They had left in such a rush that they had forgotten them, that was why I had not heard from them.

“I’m hungry,” my little brother said entering the kitchen.

This was truly heart-wrenching, Jack could be on his last legs, they could be talking about putting him down, and yet I was stuck here at home, having to deal with my seven-year-old brother telling me that he was hungry.

I made him some mashed potatoes and then watched as he started scoffing it down, completely oblivious to the drama that was going on. I wished I was oblivious, I wished I did not know but at the same time I was glad I knew, I just wished I could be there with Jack, that was what was killing, not being there.

**

Another hour had passed by, I was sat on the stairs just staring at the door, begging it to open, Jack to burst in wagging his tail, nearly knocking my parents over as he often does, then leaping on me as he always does. I could hear the panting of his breath, feel the softness of his fur, feel the love of his which I had so badly failed.

Why had I given him chocolate! Just why! My parents had warned me not to feed him sweet foods, but I thought they were just being all parental, worried about his weight, not that it could kill him!

I opened my phone. I had to give myself hope that he could still be alive and learning more was the only way I could do so.

Serious toxic reactions can occur with ingestion of about 100 to 150 milligrams of theobromine per kilogram of body weight.

That’s what Google said, apparently theobromine was the substance within chocolate that was toxic to dogs. Apparently, it could also be found in small amounts in green coffee beans, tea and mate. I didn’t even know what mate was, but if Jack was okay I would make certain he never got near any of it, or anywhere near anything that could hurt him.

But how could I work out if he was okay? How could I work out how much of this theobromine he had eaten? He weighed about thirty kilograms; that meant if he had had three thousand milligrams of this theobromine stuff then odds were he was going to die.

Argh if only I knew how much of this theobromine stuff he had had! Then I would be able to work out whether he was going to be okay or not, and I just wanted to know! No, I wanted him to be okay. Would do anything for him to be okay!

The door lock clicked; the door pushed open. It was my mother, where was my father, where was Jack?

The look on her face, bad news was coming. Oh no. God no.

Wait! My father, there he was. He was holding Jack in his arms. I burst into floods of tears, but my mother smiled, “Don’t worry,” she said, “he’s going to be all right. The vet pumped the chocolate out of him before it could take in this system, he just needs some rest and he’ll be back to normal within a few days.”

**

To say the least, the next few days were the longest of my life, but on the third morning after the incident, Jack jumped up onto my bed and woke me up. It was 6 AM. I hated mornings. I hated being woken up. Not today. Today, being woken filled me with such joy it was indescribable because today, was the day that Jack was finally okay.

Written as an entry for the SFS 2: Death by Chocolate challenge.

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Short Story

About the author

David Graham

Due to injury I write using voice dictation software! Lover of psychology, science'y things, movies, fiction and self-improvement. From the north-east of England!

Linktree: https://linktr.ee/DavidGraham86

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