Every morning I give our dog, Lily, a thyroid pill tucked inside a small piece of cheese. Well, it finally happened. When I went to the refrigerator at 5 a.m. last Friday morning, instead of reaching for the cheese I reached for a bottle of water and took the thyroid pill.
My first thought was, “No big deal, it’s just a little dog pill.” But then I got to thinking, “What if it affects humans in some dangerous way?” Just to be on the safe side I decided to call the doctor. The problem was, I didn’t know whether to call the vet or my doctor. Since it was a dog pill I decided I should call the vet. That conversation went something like this.
“Doc, I’m a little embarrassed to tell you this, but I accidentally took Lily’s thyroid pill this morning. Should I be concerned?”
There was a long pause. I could tell he was trying to keep from laughing. He finally gathered his composure enough to ask, “What time did you take the pill, George?”
“About three hours ago,” I replied.
He cleared his throat, still struggling to suppress his laughter.
“You should be okay. You may experience a few strange side affects (chuckle) but they will wear off by the end of the day. I suggest you stay home, drink a lot of water, and maybe have Yvonne take you for a walk. Just lay around and take a nap. I’ll call later today to see how you are doing.”
I thanked him, but as I hung up the phone I could hear him laughing and starting to tell his assistant about my call.
I was too embarrassed to tell Yvonne what I had done so I just said I was feeling a little queasy and thought I would stay home for the day. But my secret was out an hour later when she caught me on the back porch wolfing down a box of dog biscuits.
I was holding the box in one hand and stuffing a dog biscuit in my mouth with the other when she spotted me. With an expression of total shock and disbelief she exclaimed, “What on earth are you doing?”
I tried to speak, but all that would come out of my mouth was a soft whine. I hung my head in shame and looked up at her pitifully with my big brown eyes. She realized something was dreadfully wrong, and asked, “Are you okay?” I reached out my paw – I mean my hand – and took her to the kitchen, pointed to the thyroid bottle and made a drinking motion. “Oh my goodness” (well that’s not exactly what she said, but that’s all I can put in print.)
I nuzzled her hand with my nose, which was now soft and moist, then gazed from her eyes to the leash hanging by the door. Yvonne’s jaw dropped halfway to the floor and I could see she was about to faint. Somehow, with a low guttural tone, I managed to utter a few muffled words, “I called the vet, it’s okay.”
Suddenly, a sweet smile came over Yvonne’s face that exuded both warmth and pity, and she turned and reached for the leash. Lily and I both jumped up and down and wagged excitedly (by this time I was sitting on the floor rubbing noses and trading smells with Lily.)
I couldn’t get anymore words out to ask, but I knew what Yvonne was thinking. For years she had been practicing her “ten rules for a happy marriage,” the theme of which is to “treat him like a dog.”
Finally, after all these years, the application of those rules was paying off, and doing so beyond all expectations.
And now I understood what the vet meant when he suggested that I have Yvonne take me for a walk. She did, and it went well except that I got my neck jerked a couple of times when I tried to stop to pee. When we got back to the house Lily and I lapped up a big bowl of water, and then Yvonne let us both lay on the bed to take a nap.
I woke up about 4 o’clock feeling very rested. Yvonne was standing at the foot of the bed staring at me and Lily. I blinked my eyes a couple of times and said, “Hi honey.”
Those two little words flowed out of my mouth like soft music. Yvonne ran over and gave me the biggest hug I’ve ever had, and we both knew I was okay when I kissed her instead of trying to lick her face.
Just then the phone rang. It was the vet calling to check on me. Yvonne told him about our day. “Well,” he said, “You can be glad it wasn’t a pill for worms.”
George Brown is the executive director of Clermont Senior Services.#