“There we are, baby. Safe and sound at home. That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
Your fluffy mare, Applefluff, shakes her head. You let her explore around the house instead of locking her in her safe room, and she managed to open one of the kitchen cabinets ‘helping’ you clean up and drop your slow cooker on her head; no major damage, fortunately, but she did have a broken tooth and you just got back from having the vet take care of that.
Geez, fluffies were high maintenance! But you wouldn’t trade yours for the world; she’s such a sweetie.
“Ca Appuwfwuff gugh ow-sie?”
Her mouth is still numb from the novacaine the vet applied; fluffies, being very sensitive, have to have special, low-dosage anesthetics. Anesthetics used to knock out or dull the pain in a dog or cat would probably kill a fluffy in most cases. Your vet used a tenth of the usual novacaine to dull the pain in your fluffy, and she was completely unable to move her mouth or tongue for an hour.
“You want to go outside?”
She nods. Weeeeell, other than getting into the cabinet (her curiosity will be the death of her someday, you’re sure), she’s been a very good fluffy for a while now. You rarely let her out into your yard, except as a special treat, partly because you’re afraid she’ll find a hole in the fence and go exploring and get lost, or get knocked up by a feral that found his way into your yard, or she’ll eat the vegetables in your garden, but you just mended the fence last week, and most of your garden has died back for the winter, so she can’t do any damage to it. You also leave all your tools and other things that would be dangerous to a fluffy locked in your shed, so you can’t see how she can do any damage while she’s out there. Plus, fluffy poop is excellent fertilizer, so you don’t mind if she craps on your lawn while she’s out there.
“All right, you’ve been a good girl lately, so as long as you promise to stay in the yard and not try to leave the yard at all, you can go outside for a few minutes.”
She bounces joyfully, then prances in place, her little hooves tapping out a staccato drumroll on your kitchen floor as you open the back door.
“Fangh yoo, daddeh!” Yup, still numb.
“Be a good girl, and stay where daddy can see you.”
She shoots out the door into your yard, rolling in the grass, nibbling a little of it, and bouncing all over. She trots after a butterfly and steers well away from your rose bush when the butterfly veers in that direction. She knows all about the thorns on your ‘pretty fwowa nummies’ from personal experience. You leave the door open so you can hear her mushmouthed chatter and sit at the kitchen table to do your taxes, glancing up every few seconds to make sure she stays out of trouble.
There, all done. You glance up again and don’t see her. You don’t hear her happy babbling either.
She immediately trots back into sight, wiggling her tail like a dog and dances in a circle, inviting you to come play.
“Come back inside, sweetie.”
She obediently comes back in and you shut the door behind her.
“Is your mouth owie good enough for you to eat some kibble?”
“Nu fank yoo, daddeh! Appuwfwuff had nummy bewwies whiwe pwaying in yawd!”
Berries? You don’t have berries in your- ah, shit. You stick your head out the door and look in the yard; yup.
Your chili pequine bush, which had been covered in at least two hundred tiny red and orange chili peppers that really did look like berries to the naive, is almost bare. The novacaine numbed her mouth to the burning sensation (hotter than jalepenos, even!) and she gobbled down almost every pepper on your bush.
“Sweetie, did I say you could eat those?”
She pauses; the idea that those might have been no-no’s obviously hadn’t occurred to her.
“Bu- daddeh wets Appuwfwuff num da sweet gwassies in da yawd, Appuwfwuff tot dat… Appuwfwuff sowwy! Nu gif sowwy stick, pwease, daddeh? Appuwfwuff dun nuw bewwies was no-no’s!”
“I’m not mad at you, sweetie. But you need to ask me before you eat something. It might be bad for you. Like chocolate, remember?”
She shudders. A couple weeks ago she raided the laxatives in your bathroom thinking they were chocolates and now she associates just about all of the candy you eat with painful, explosive diarrhea. She ponders a moment.
“Suh… Sum nummies not no-no’s, but nee ask daddeh cuz might be bad fow fwuffies?”
She freezes, an expression of horror sliding across her face as realization sets in.
“Bewwies bad fow fwuffies?!”
“Not like chocolate, but those aren’t good berries for fluffies, no.”
If she hadn’t been numbed from the trip to the vet, one chili pequine would have sent her crying and screaming back to you, telling you how the meany berries had given her mouth owies. But she didn’t feel the burning from the hot peppers and gobbled down nearly all of them. Oh boy, this was gonna be fun.
Later that evening, Applefluff announced that she needed to use the litter box and trotted into her safe room. A few moments, you heard an awful screech.
“EEEEEEE! Buwnies! Daddeh, hewp Appuwfwuff! Poopie pwace has wowstest buwnies! EEEEEEEEE!”
“Nope, you’re on your own for this one, sweetie. Next time you’ll ask daddy before you eat something, right?”
Your only response is a loud PTTTTTTHHHHHBBBBBBBLLLLTT and crying.
“Guess that’s a yes.”
You go back to making dinner, humming to yourself. You hate the messes that result, but self-correcting problems are the best kind, as far as fluffies are concerned. Once burned, twice shy, as it were.