Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bruiser Bites Off More Than He Can Manage

The horror. Went to lot of trouble making bread; weighed the ingredients vs measuring (the first time I'd done this), used sponge letting it get feisty all yesterday afternoon, assembled and kneaded by hand for full 6 minutes by timer, let dough go overnight, turned out and made two French-style loaves, and set them out on the breezeway to final rise in the afternoon heat. A mere twenty minutes later, ready to bake them, I went out and - no loaves in sight. Examining my dog, and chastising her for this theft, I nevertheless knocked on my neighbor's door to see if her dog Bruiser had done the deed. Apparently not. Neighbor said so, and I didn't see him around either before or after.

My dog , I assumed, toppled the tabletop and ate both raw loaves. I hoped she would know why she would be getting a very bad stomach ache soon. But I was concerned, too, that she might burst.

I soon began to doubt it was my dog; her belly was quite trim. I even suspected a shockingly bold coyote, or more likely the red, foxy chow from up the street who regularly comes by, the temptress, to lure away her pal Bruiser, the boxer next door. But it wasn't her.

It was Bruiser. His window of opportunity had been narrow - very narrow. But he took advantage of it, seemingly inhaling the loaves of dough in mere seconds before returning to his owner's side. A heist worthy of Simon Templar.

He later, I was finally told, expelled a quite monstrous mass - his owner, alerted previously but theretofore having no knowledge that it was him, described it as a "large perfect loaf of dough" - although it was two - (I thought then) - from his mouth. That seems to have solved any remaining problem of mine. His owner had a different problem. But that problem too had been already dealt with by the time I learned the whole story.
All's well that ends well. I even shopped for more King Arthur's flour - it's made from hard red summer wheat - and made two more new loaves in time for dinner. For the record, I let the loaves do their final rise in the cab of my truck with the windows up. Dinner, by the way, was slow cooked pork roast with a paprika bark, sweet potato, corn on the cob, and the hot bread.
I gave my dog a bit of the pork as an apology.

As it turned out, however, Bruiser had not expelled the first loaf he ate. In the middle of the night, he became quite ill. Vomiting and diarrhea. Staggering and whimpering with pain.

Update, many months later: It seems the fermentation of the bread dough in his guts was making him dangerously drunk; alcohol poisoning sufficient to endanger his life. His owner had to make an emergency trip to the veterinarian in the wee hours. They had to put him on I.V. life support. It was bad.

I wrote the majority of this the evening before when the sequence of events was unclear and all we foresaw was a stomach ache for the poor fellow.)

I feel the bread dough arising.
I feel burping on the way.
I feel stomach aches disquietin'.
I feel bad bloats today.

Don't come near tonight,
It's bound to be a fright,
There's a dog with a sad surprise.
(Thanks to Talitha for the song!)

Bruiser survived with not more than a bad hangover. He and I are now good buddies.

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