The most expensive raisin in history

Hello, my name is Alex. I’m Turi’s older sister and therefore Saffi’s Auntie. And I have a terrible confession to make. I almost poisoned Saffi!

I really didn’t mean to. If you’ve followed Turi’s blog, you might have seen me pop up in some of the photos, always nestling my little fur niece close to my bosom! For although we’ve always been a cat-loving family, and I had my reservations about Turi introducing a dog to the fold, the minute I met Saffi, she stole my heart.

I take my responsibilities as Saffi’s Auntie very seriously – I love taking her for walks, teaching her new tricks. I taught her to RUN when she was teeny, bounding across Barnes Common like utter lunatics together, hiding in the grass and splashing in the Thames. I am number one giver of cuddles (after my Dad). I’m not so hot on telling her off, especially when she jumps up on my legs for attention, but surely it’s the parents’ job to discipline their children ;-).

Turi instructed me on day one about all the foods we couldn’t feed her – chocolate and so on, and since then I’ve been incredibly diligent, scouring the floor at family gatherings for chocolate and other naughty items, removing lilies out of reach etc.

Until Easter Sunday morning.

Turi and Marcus were on a couple of errands, so my parents were keeping an eye on the Saff-pig. Full of the joys of Spring, I popped round to see everyone, with freshly baked hot cross buns and a bunch of daffodils. Whilst making breakfast, I managed to burn one of the buns, and was about to throw it away when I saw Saffi gazing at me (well, the bun actually), so I broke a piece off and gave it to her. She wolfed it down in about 2 seconds flat, tail wagging furiously, and sat back expectantly, waiting for more.

Luckily at that moment, the phone rang – Turi on her way back home. I laughed as I told her about her greedy little puppy and how she was loving her Easter treat. I actually had another bit of hot cross bun in my hand, ready to give to Saffi. Turi went silent on the other end of the line – then gently reminded me that raisins can be poisonous to dogs.

All credit to Turi – she didn’t freak out at all. We discussed how much of the bun Saffi had eaten (about a third at most) and how many raisins it might have contained (up to five, I reckoned?) She told me not to worry, that she’d keep an eye on Saffi and take her to the vet if she started looking unwell.

I felt awful, but reassured by Turi’s calm reaction. However, after hanging up, I went straight on the internet, and found several horror stories about dogs and raisins. The one that scared me the most was the puppy who’d gone into kidney failure after snaffling just one grape from the fruit bowl. I got myself into a real panic and decided to drive Saffi straight to the out-of-hours vet.

My Mum came with me, and like an episode of Challenge Anneka, kept Turi updated on the phone, all the way to the vet in Wimbledon. The out of hours vet was lovely and reassuring and told us she’d give Saffi an injection to make her throw up.

Saffi returned to the waiting room ten minutes later looking highly unimpressed. She proceeded to barf all over the floor for the next half an hour. The poor thing had nothing left in her stomach so all she was throwing up was bile. I anxiously questioned the vet about her state of health – she was convinced we’d got any trace of raisin out of Saffi’s stomach, and that she’d be fine.

As I handed over my credit card, wincing at the bill (£204!!), I asked exactly how many raisins she’d thrown up.

One raisin, said the vet.

The most expensive raisin in history.

I have learnt my lesson and won’t be feeding my little fur niece anything from the banned list ever again! But I don’t regret forking out for the vet bill, as expensive as it was. Saffi might belong to my sister and her fiancé, but she is definitely a most beloved family pet and I couldn’t bear any uncertainty about her health, especially if I’d caused it.

I am certainly never sharing my hot cross buns again.

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