Suicidal Simba

I’m worried about our dog. He seems to be happy enough, full of energy, love and licks, but he appears to want to kill himself. It makes me wonder what we’ve done. Is it because we won’t let him sleep on our bed? Or maybe because we won’t let him drink from the toilet downstairs? I don’t know, I’ve been searching for answers, but he seems determined to commit suicide and his favoured method of demise appears to be death by mince pie. Yes, that seemingly harmless Christmas pastry treat. The problem is, grapes and all dried variants such as currants, raisins and sultanas are significantly toxic to dogs and even relatively small amounts can cause renal failure. Simba, however, loves them. Like most dogs, he will want whatever his human family are eating and, not knowing the dangers, we gave him some mince pie when we had opened a box. He reacted even more enthusiastically than he does to most foods, so we gave him a little each time we were treating ourselves which, seeing as it’s approaching Christmas, was frequently.

Simba, unfortunately, soon became obsessed with mince pies, even learning the words and visibly drooling whenever any were around. We were quite amused by his devotion to the pursuit of mince pies and it was mentioned on my partner’s Facebook status that our dog would probably do pretty much anything for a mince pie. The amusement soon turned to concern when somebody pointed out that the fruit filling could be harmful, so we did a bit of research and, there it was. Lots of good reasons why our faithful Labrador cross needs to be saved from his love of Mr. Kipling’s finest. It’s not even just “a bit bad for them”. There have been many deaths because dogs have eaten grapes, raisins and the like. Luckily, Simba hadn’t had enough to harm him, but had we not known and carried on giving him mince pies over the Christmas period, we could have at least been looking at a very sick dog and hundreds of pounds in vet bills – or much worse – so, that Facebook friend could very well have saved our dog’s life.

End of story, you’d think. Not quite. Upon further investigation, it turns out that a few of the human food poisonous to dogs are Simba’s favourites. Onions, for example, and mushrooms. Both ingredients in his most favourite leftovers, Spaghetti Bolognese. He would also guzzle chocolate if we’d let him, too, but that’s one of the more well-known foods toxic to dogs. Oddly enough, he spits out cauliflower in disgust, but it more than happy to munch down broccoli – which is also harmful to him in large quantities. It then occurred to me that, perhaps, he knows exactly what he’s doing. Maybe he’s well aware that he’s endangering his own health and wants to speed his journey to doggie heaven, by encouraging us to feed him poison. I mean, I keep on telling him there’s no such thing as doggie heaven, but he just won’t listen to me. I’ve started to make enquiries about prozac for dogs, as well as keeping sharp objects locked away and making sure that his leash is kept well out of his reach for fear that he’ll use it as a makeshift noose. I’ve also made sure that my Smiths CDs are on a high enough shelf because I really hate to think what could happen if he started listening to Morrissey too, but, honestly, I don’t know how long we can protect him from himself.

Perhaps he’s just a bit daft. That’s another theory. I suppose he does chase his own tail, surprises himself when he farts, loves baths but hates rain, attacks the vacuum cleaner, goes and checks out the back of the house when it’s raining at the front and lists his hobbies as barking at slow-moving traffic and objecting loudly to upside-down bicycles. The trouble is, he’s also quite smart when he wants to be and, for treats, can perform some rather advanced tricks, so I’m wondering if all of the apparent stupidity is a bit of an act to lull us into a false sense of security. Whatever the truth is, we can’t take any risks. We’ve already distributed photos of Simba to all of the local supermarkets with strict instructions not to serve mince pies to him and put our own stash under lock and key. However, he may get desperate, so don’t be too surprised if you hear of burglaries in the Brighton area where the only stolen items are mince pies and the only damage caused is a slightly savaged Hoover.

People of Brighton, you have been warned.