Death by Kelp Basket: A Cautionary Tale

by Jill Stanton
Choco, our Labrador retriever, was true to her breed.  Over her 11 ½ years of happy life she ate son Gabrielʼs
homework, his lunch money, any dead jellyfish she could find on the beach, countless plastic bags that once held food, and my HRT (estrogen) prescription–pills, bottle, and packaging–which the postman once threw over our fence.
When I first took up basketry last year, she tasted, mangled, but then wisely rejected, a prickly pine needle basket I was working on.  But it was a dry, finished kelp basket that led to her demise.
When Choco stopped eating last month–a clear sign of serious illness in a Labrador—sonograms identified a large organic substance in her intestines.  After a three-plus hour surgery, the vet showed me the blob he had removed to see if I could identify it; some of the sewn panels of the kelp basket were still intact.  Poor, sweet Choco died a day later from a stroke.
If there is a dog heaven, Choco is romping in the ocean waves right now, swinging her kong over her shoulder, and then gamboling through the sand to roll in a dead seal.   Hopefully, she will pass on the kelp this time.  She will be missed.