When Pedigree turns deadly/How dog food can put you in the hospital

Chico turns two today! And after his recent bout of kennel cough and squirt of skunk stink to the dome, I’m sure he’s excited to get buck wild his birthday. I’m planning on joining in on the celebrations — I love that little mufugga.

“This leather smells fab.”

I love almost everything about him — I love him all the way from his beady monkey eyes to his wagging tail stub. The only thing I don’t love about Chico is that, when it comes to eating, he’s a bit of a prima donna. Nothing’s ever good enough for his sophisticated puppy palate.

He’s such a picky eater, in fact, that sometimes my mom gets so frustrated with his dogorexia that she flops herself down on the floor and feeds the little diva by hand. I find this troublesome.

But it’s not the sight of my mom spoon-feeding the dog that bothers me so much; it’s the fact that the food she spoon-feeds him is wet dog food, not dry dog food. I really like dry dog food.

Or, to be more specific, I really like the smell of dry dog food.

I first discovered my love for the smell of dog food with our old dog, Halle. She was the opposite of Chico – both physically and foodically.

She was giant; Chico is mini.

Halle’s meals were stored in a trash bin and consisted of Pedigree dry dog food. When she got hungry, she’d knock her aluminum bowl with her Schnauzer schnoz, and wait for one of us to come a-running. I tried to always be the one to answer her calling. Not only did I get to serve my precious Halle, but I got some quality dog food-sniffing time. Sadly enough, this lovely habit ended with a night in the hospital.

A Cautionary Tale

My junior year of high school, I was the V.I.P. of the high school basketball team. I balled out of control so hard — blocking and rebounding and boxing out and whatnot — that I swung between varsity and J.V. They needed my talent for every league, and I was happy to comply.

One night, as I shot around during halftime of a varsity game (and after totally dominating a J.V. one), my chest started hurting something awful. Every inhale of breath was as sharp and jagged as my pointy chin.

Contorting my jaw like that really hurt.

At first I decided the chest pain was just fatigue; after all, two intense games of basketball back-to-back ain’t for the faint of chest. Then, when I remembered that I’d played lazily during the J.V. game and had yet to play even a minute in the varsity one, I decided physical exertion couldn’t have been the cause.

I did the only thing I could think of doing — I whined to the coach and the athletic trainer. They both ignored me (and why wouldn’t they? I wasn’t actually the V.I.P… just the space cadet who wore men’s size 13 moon boots to practice), so I toughed it out for the rest of the game by not moving (this was surprisingly easy).

By the time the game ended and I got back home, my chest was hurting worse than ever. Though hopeful that it was just a boob spurt, I asked my mom to take me to the hospital. I knew, boob spurt or not, I needed a doctor’s opinion.

The doctor’s opinion, of course, was that I was overreacting. Still, she humored me by X-raying mah shit. And boy, did my X-rayed shit offer some insight into mah shit.

Basically, my lungs were popping off, literally.

The alveoli on my lungs had burst and were leaking air throughout my body. The leaked air had my neck sounding like Rice Krispies and some important organs on the verge of collapse. Afraid my entire system might snap, crackle, and crash, the doctor lady had me spend the night at the hospital. She wanted to monitor my vital signs and, since she’d never seen it before, do some research on my condition.

After a restless night of Roseanne reruns and poop-inducing machine beeps, the doctor came back to tell me her findings. Apparently, popped lungs are common amongst crack smokers — the way they inhale crack so deeply sometimes causes their alveoli to explode. Since I hadn’t started hitting the pipe at that point, the doctor attributed my own case of popped lungs to my intense basketball regime.

But the second she said “inhale really deeply” I knew what had caused my episode: dog food.

Like I’ve already mentioned, every time I’d refill Halle’s bowl, I’d whiff her dog food as intensely as humanly possible.

I’d whiff her dog food as intensely as addicts inhale crack.

I’d whiff her dog food intensely enough to send me to the hospital for the night.*

Now, thankfully (and heartbreakingly), with Chico and his vile wet food, I’m no longer at risk for dog food huffing. I will admit, however, I still enjoy an occasional waft from the pet food aisle at the grocery store.

*Ben Gay may have played a small part in my popped lungs, too.

P.S. The smells of dry horse, cat, and rabbit food are also delicious.

5 thoughts on “When Pedigree turns deadly/How dog food can put you in the hospital

  1. Daniiii

    While I can’t attribute any burst alveoli to it (or my asthma, really), I also love the smell of dry dog food! I don’t know anyone else who does. I have no desire to EAT it (it doesn’t smell delicious), but it’s one of my favorite smells.

    1. aconn464 Post author

      I’m glad I’m not the only one! I don’t have any desire to eat it, either, and on the occasions I have I wasn’t impressed. Want to start a dog food perfume company?

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