As medical marijuana grows in popularity, so too does the chance that the dog is going to get into it.
It’s always been something that happens – dogs have been chowing down on their owner’s illegal stashes for decades, sometimes with fatal results.
But with the increasing use of medical marijuana, dogs are more likely to both have access to it and be tempted by it. For one thing, it doesn’t have to be hidden anymore. It can be kept in higher quantities. And, increasingly, those taking it for medical reasons are eating it instead of smoking it.
As a result, instead of a well-hidden bag of green leafy buds, dogs must resist the temptation of such things as rice crispy marijuana treats, cannabis oreo cookie cake, medical snickerdoodles and ganja lasagna.
In Colorado, there has been a spike in the number of cases of dogs getting sick from cannabis since medical marijuana was legalized.
Vets say they used to see dogs who had ingested marijuana a few times a year. Now pet owners bring in doped-up dogs as many as five times a week, CBS4 in Denver reports.
“There are huge spikes in the frequency of marijuana ingestion in places where it’s become legal,” veterinarian Dr. Debbie Van Pelt said.
Most of the time dogs get the medical marijuana by eating food laced with it — either that which their owners have prepared, or pre-laced foods purchased from dispensaries selling the products.
Dr. Stacy Meola, a veterinarian who coordinated a study looking at the numbers, say four times as many dogs have been getting treatment for ingesting marijuana since medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado.
It’s not always fatal, but it can be.
Most dogs survive, experiencing symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, staggering and sensitivity to sound and light.
In addition to accidental cases, veterinarians say some dog owners think it’s funny to get their dogs stoned– and even post videos of it.
“We need people to realize it is potentially toxic and potentially fatal to their pets,” Van Pelt said.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, baking, brownies, butter, coma, cookies, cooking, deaths, dispensaries, dog, dogs, eating, fatal, ganja lasagna, grass, health, ill, lethargy, marijuana, medical, medical marijuana, pets, pot, recipes, rice crispy treats, safety, sickness, smoking, snickerdoodles, survival, toxic, treatment, veterinarians, vomiting, warning, weed
Ellen, one of the oldest of the dogs seized from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation, passed away earlier this month at Best Friends, the animal sanctuary in Utah.
“Ellen’s health is failing,” Best Friends veterinarian Dr. Patti Patterson, said of the 11-year old dog. “Although we do not know the cause of her illness and deterioration, we have exhausted all diagnostic and treatment efforts that we feel could help Ellen.”
An unknown disease was causing weight loss and muscle loss and preventing her stomach from emptying. Despite a barrage of tests, the medical team couldn’t determine the source of the problems. With her quality of life deemed no longer at an acceptable level, the decision was made to euthanize her.
During her final two days, Ellen had a steady stream of visitors, according to the Best Friends website.
“I’ve never had a dog who was so affectionate,” says caregiver Maddie Haydon. “She bonded with everyone she met.”
Most people Ellen met, though, were met from a distance.
In accordance with court orders, the former Vick dogs taken in by Best Friends were not allowed to interact directly with Sanctuary visitors, or even volunteers – at least not until they were upgraded from “red-collar” status.
For Ellen, that day finally came last month.
Some visitors were hesitant to meet Ellen, even from afar, but when they did, she generally altered any mistaken notions they had about pit bulls.
“You could just see them change their perception,” said caregiver Tom Williams. ”She went a long way toward helping not only the Vick dogs that are here, but pit bulls in general. She helped to dispel the myths about them.”
One volunteer figured out early that Ellen was a lover, not a fighter.
Betty Grieb, though a fence separated them, spent more than three years reading to Ellen.
When Ellen’s status was upgraded, and Grieb got to meet her in person, “It was like a dream come true,” she said. ”I really loved her. She was such a sweet girl, so full of life.”
(Photo and video courtesy of Best Friends)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, best friends, dead, dies, dog, dogfighting, dogs, eldest, ellen, euthanized, ill, medical, michael vick, oldest, passes, pets, pit bulls, red collar, rehabilitation, status, tests, vick, vicktory dogs, video
Poisoned meatballs have been found in the yards of at least three Denver homes and have made at least two dogs seriously ill.
Two neighbors reported their dogs had become violently sick. One neighbor, after searching his yard, found meatballs scattered around it. Others, upon searching their yards, did as well.
One woman said her dog began acting strangely, then experiencing symptoms that included vomiting and diarrhea.
All the homes were near the University of Denver campus.
“It’s really sad when someone targets animals,” one of the neighbors said.
Similar incidents have been recently reported in Firestone and Gunnison, 9 News in Denver reported.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, denver, dogs, health, ill, meatballs, neighborhood, pets, poison, poisoned, safety, sick, symptoms, university of denver, yards
I don’t do it often, but every now and then, when a dog I’ve had the fortune to connect with passes on, I post a little memorial, like this one for Butch, a pug who lived down the road.
Butch’s human, Martha, had to have him put down last week.
Ace and I would run into Butch pretty regularly on our walks around the block since we moved into the neighborhood a few months back.
Usually, we’d see them not far from their front yard, because Butch, at 15, stayed pretty close to home. In addition to possibly having had some strokes and other health problems, he was also blind. And deaf.
He still had life in him, though. A few times, I saw him get playful, with Ace and once with another dog. Even though he couldn’t see them, he’d do a slow spin and do his best to get into a play stance.
But he’d always stop, wagging his tail even before I reached down to scratch him, as if he somehow knew it was coming.
A while back, when she was having back problems, Martha let me take him for a walk along with Ace. She explained the basics to me: Pull up on his leash to support when when he’s going up or down a curb. Try not to let him walk into a telephone pole. But if he does, don’t worry. He’s a resilient little fellow who has gotten good at absorbing the bumps life brings our way.
That resiliency came to an end last week. Seeing her dog constantly panting, losing control of his bowels, getting right up into her face and staring at her as if to send a message, she knew the time had come.
Martha told me the news on Friday night.
I said the words we say at times like those — always inadequate, but even moreso in her case, for I’d seen the strong bond between them, the joy he brought her, and the fine home she provided for Butch.
Feeling not the least bit helpful, I went home and got a copy of my book, “DOG, INC.,” which, while it relates to dog death, is definitely not feel-good, Rainbow-Bridge, chicken-soup type reading.
Instead, it looks at the ever-strengthening bond between people and their dogs, and the extremes humans sometimes go to after they lose a pet — focusing on the newest and most technologically dazzling of those: cloning.
Martha, I know, would never clone her dog, and, if you’ve read the book, you know I would never suggest it. Martha, pained as she was by Butch’s death, didn’t seem to be going over the edge, and I guess I wanted to give her the book because I admired that.
From our short talk Friday night, she seemed to be handling it, probably better than I would. She seemed to have the right approach — focusing not on the loss, not on herself, but on the happy times the two shared. Happy memories beat a stuffed version of your dog, jewelry made from his ashes, or a laboratory-created genetic replica any day, at least as I see it.
It doesn’t make it easy, but I think that having experienced all you can with your dog, having fully appreciated your dog during his or her life, can somewhat blunt the pain of his or her death — knowing the two of you, and that bond, became all it could be. That seemed to be the case with Martha.
I signed the book, “In memory of Butch, a dog savored in life and lovingly remembered in death — as it should be.”
I rang her doorbell and yelled at Ace to sit down — for he tries to enter any door that opens — and when Martha saw him she said, “Oh perfect!”
When your dog dies, decisions have to be made about what to keep and what to jettison. A favorite toy might be comforting to hang on to, but there are some things painful to look at, like the lingering treats that he or she will never be served. It hurts to see it. It hurts to throw it away.
“I’ve got some bacon I was saving for Butch,” she said. “I’d really appreciate it if Ace would eat it.”
I accepted the package, neatly wrapped in tin foil, and carried it down the sidewalk as Ace jumped up and down next to me, acting anything but mournful. I don’t think he paused for a millisecond to appreciate the significance of the bacon. To him, bacon needs no added significance. He gobbled all three strips down, barely chewing, and kept bouncing up and down beside me even when I told him it was gone.
From a dog who had dispensed much of it in his 15 years, it was like one final dose of joy, courtesy of Butch.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 20th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, blind, bond, butch, connection, deaf, death, dogs, euthanized, grieving, health, ill, in memory, losing a pet, love, memorial, mourning, neighbor, north carolina, old dogs, pets, pug, put down, sick dogs, strokes, winston-salem
It has been nearly three years since ohmidog! brought you the story of homeless (at the time) Michael Reed and his three-legged pit bull, Topaz.
I ran across them during a visit to Los Angeles, where I first saw Michael pushing a shopping cart down a sidewalk in Inglewood, with Topaz in tow.
Suspecting they had a story, I followed them to a vacant lot next to a gas station, where, sitting on the sidewalk with a bottle of King Cobra malt liquour — Topaz, as always, at his side — he graciously consented to share it.
The story, that is.
A couple of months earlier, on August 31st, 2008, Topaz had gotten caught in the middle of a barrage of gunfire. Police were shooting at another homeless man named Eddie Franco, who they thought had a gun. Franco was killed. His gun turned out to be a plastic toy.
Topaz, shot 4 times, was taken away by animal control — leaving Michael without the dog he’d grown to depend on, or, for that matter, any idea whether she was still alive.
Through a stroke of fortune, he managed to get Topaz back.
Months before the incident, Ingrid Hurel-Diourbel, founder of Streetsmarts Rescue, had seen Michael and his dog on the street, collecting recyclables, and stopped to talk to him. She placed one of her organization’s rescue tags on Topaz, who had no identification, and Reed gave her his stepmother’s phone number.
When the Carson Shelter’s animal control unit — where Topaz was taken after the shooting — saw the tag, they called Hurel-Diourbel, who got the message to Reed, and helped raised the funds needed for surgery.
Topaz would lose one of her hind legs, but she and Michael would be reunited, resuming their life on the streets for several months. Then, with more help from friends, Michael and Topaz moved into a trailer park, almost two years ago. Things were looking up.
Now comes word from Los Angeles that both Michael and Topaz have fallen victim to some serious medical problems.
Streetsmarts Rescue in Hawthorne reports that Michael is terminally ill with cirrhosis of the liver and Hepatitis C. Topaz has a cancerous lump on her neck — a round cell tumor that will require surgery.
Hurel-Diourbel is trying to raise funds again — about $1,000 for the operation Topaz needs. She’s also trying to find a home for Topaz, for when the day comes that Michael can no longer care for her.
Hurel-Diourbel says she recently spent the day with Michael, who she says has no family to speak of, at the Veteran’s Hospital in Long Beach.
“Michael, homeless at one point, now was being treated with much respect and dignity. It was wonderful to witness,” she said. She added that, during his hospital stay, he told anyone who would listen about his dog.
He has since returned to his trailer in Torrance, which he moved into only with the assurance that Topaz could live there, too. Michael, who acknowledges he has some mental problems, had been looking for work, but without success.
Because it’s not known how much longer Michael will be able to live on his own, Hurel-Diourbel is trying to line up a new home for Topaz, who is 6-years old.
As an outsider, here’s my hope, based on our short visit, and the connection I saw between man and dog: That whoever adopts Topaz — if that occurs before his death — might be willing to let Michael share time, lots of time, with her during his final days.
To learn how to contribute to Topaz’s surgery, visit the ChipIn page that Hurel-Diourbel established.
(You can find a subsequent update on Michael and Topaz here.)
(Photos by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, bond, cancer, cirrhosis, dogs, health, hepatitis c, homeless, homelessness, ill, ingrid hurl diourbel, liver, los angeles, michael reed, pets, pit bull, police, rescue, shelter, shooting, sick, streetsmarts rescue, surgery, three legs, three-legged, topaz, tumor
Two dogs at a small town animal shelter in Oklahoma were partially eaten by other dogs being held there.
Town officials said two sick dogs were placed with healthy dogs in the shelter in Wewoka and died before a veterinarian was able to visit. After they died, they were partially consumed by other dogs, KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City reported.
Mark Mosley, Wewoka City Manager said the dogs in the shelter are well cared for, but admits the city made a mistake when it mixed the sick and healthy dogs.
“We run the shelter like it’s supposed to be run and some of the moments that we might have a slip up is the ones that really kinda tend to bite us back,” he said. “We believe that we feed and water the dogs daily and treat them right.”
Mosley said the shelter will segregate sick dogs from now on, and also plans other improvements, including additional dog runs and an automatic watering system.
“We’d already planned on making changes before hand, but because of the stories and because of the negative light that it did put us in, we kind of rearranged some of our budget,” said Mosley.
The city is seeking grant money to help fund the shelter, which takes in 10 to 12 dogs per week.
I extend my apologies to the two most recent Motel 6’s my dog Ace and I patronized — for, despite my best efforts to clean things up, I fear Ace left his mark, or at least a distinct scent.
Ace, just like John Steinbeck’s Charley — and almost as if on script – got sick in Spokane.
For Charley, the problem was being unable to pee, and it began, according to “Travels with Charley” in Idaho, the night Steinbeck counseled a father and son from who he rented a cabin for the night.
The teenager wanted to leave rural Idaho and move to New York to pursue a career in hairdressing … “Not barbering — hairdressing — for women,” Steinbeck quotes the father as saying. “Now maybe you see why I got worries.”
To his credit, Steinbeck, as he describes it, supported the son’s career choice:
“I tell you that a clever, thoughtful, ambitious hairdresser wields a power beyond the comprehension of most men,” he explained to the worried dad.
That night, Steinbeck’s poodle Charley woke his master with his whines. The dog’s abdomen was distended and his nose and ears were hot, Steinbeck noted. “I took him out and stayed with him, but he could not relieve the pressure.”
Steinbeck, playing vet, gave Charley some of his sleeping pills, Seconal, assuming it would relax the dog’s tensed up insides. According to the book, Charley fell alseep on the bed, fell off it, tried to get up, and stumbled. He managed to walk outside briefly before coming back inside and immediately falling asleep again.
The next morning, Steinbeck rushed him to a veterinarian in Spokane, who diagnosed Charley as an old dog. On Steinbeck’s insistence though, he eventually agreed to give the dog a pill to help flush out his kidneys. Once in Seattle — where Charley rested up for a few days in some undisclosed whereabouts — Steinbeck questioned whether the constant vibration of his camper, Rocinante, might be the cause of, or at least contributing to, his dog’s troubles.
I was asking myself some similar questions as Ace and I drove from Spokane toward Seattle. Is the trip taking a toll on him? Should we stop and visit a vet? His problem wasn’t the same as Charley’s. It was diarrhea. Other than that — the sudden need to poop and its runny consequences — he showed no signs of being sick. He still ran in circles and played at our rest stops. His nose was cold. His eyes were clear. He was, as always, ready to eat.
I’d cleaned up four runny piles of poop at the Motel 6 in Spokane — all of which were deposited as I slept — and was worried the next night might bring the same.
I went ahead and drove all the way to Seattle’s outskirts, wanting to clear Snoqualmie Pass before more snow came, but — not wanting to show up with a runny dog at the house of some old friends who’d agreed to put us up — I checked into a Motel 6 in Kirkland.
I realized the next morning it was a good choice — for me and my friends, if not for the Motel 6. Ace had left another deposit on the floor. Having used up all my paper towels the night before, I resorted to trying to clean it up with toilet paper and copious amounts of water. I scooped, and blotted, then scrubbed, which would leave little pills of toilet paper all over the spot, but eventually it turned the same color as the rest of the carpet. And opening the windows wide was helping air the place out.
Even as I worked to clean things up though, Ace would head to the door with a panicky look in his eyes. He left several more unscoopable deposits outside.
I called my friends and warned them, suggested even that maybe they won’t want us as house guests. I was worried Ace might mess their home, or contaminate their two dogs. They told me to come on over.
My friend Marilyn, a nurturing type, told me not to worry, and fed Ace some cottage cheese. Then she cooked up some rice, which he’d eat for dinner the next two nights.
I decided to wait another day before contacting a vet and went to sleep worried — and with one hand on Ace, who was sprawled out on the bed next to me, in hopes that if he stirred, it would wake me up.
It worked, and about an hour after I fell asleep, he got up, and so did I, immediately seeing that panicked look in his eyes. We rushed down the stairs and outside, then went back to bed — once again with my hand resting atop him. The rest of the night was, thankfully, poopless; but he got up early to rush outside again.
So far, the cream-colored carpets have remained cream colored. Marilyn, in saintly fashion, has continued to pamper him. There have been no accidents. I’ve got my fingers crossed and — probably on account of worrying so much about his stomach — a sort of non-peaceful, queasy feeling in mine.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, ace, animals, charley, cottage cheese, diarrhea, dog, dogs, ill, ilness, john steinbeck, motel 6, pets, poop, rice, road trip, seattle, sick, spokane, steinbeck, stomach, traveling with dogs, travels, travels with ace, travels with charley, upset, washington
Rescued dogs — and the courageous work many of them go on to do — are the theme of “To the Rescue: Found Dogs with a Mission,” a new book written by animal adoption activist Elise Lufkin.
Lufkin, who also wrote ”Found Dogs: Tales of Strays Who Landed on Their Feet “ and “Second Chances” has put together a series of stories about rescued dogs who have gone on to visit hospitals, prisons and nursing homes, guide the blind and deaf, and detect narcotics and bombs.
While her previous books look at how dog owners have been rewarded by the dogs they rescue, this one focuses on owners of rescued dogs who have trained and certified their dogs for special work that has an impact on the lives of many more humans.
Lufkin, as with her two previous books, is donating all profits to shelters and other animal-related organizations.
The poignant photographs in the book are the work of Diana Walker, a contract photographer for Time magazine since 1979.
The dog in the photo above is Marlee, who has a partially amputated right foreleg and was discovered by a group of veterinary students at a local pound.
Veterinarian Karen Lanz explains in the book what happened next:
“…If left at the shelter, the dog would surely have been euthanized … Marlee’s sweet, gentle nature made me realize immediately that she would make a wonderful therapy dog. After a little fine-tuning at local obedience classes, we were ready … Soon my brother-in-law, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, suggested that Marlee’s status as an amputee could make her a welcome addition to the therapy dogs visiting at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
“I contacted People Animals Love (PAL) and was fortunate enough to join their groups on visits to Walter Reed. Marlee was well received at the hospital, and I think she was a source of inspiration for some of the brave veterans who are returning from the Iraq war with missing limbs and other disabilities. Guys in wheelchairs marked “Purple Heart Combat Wounded” would say to this little dog, ‘I know what you’re going through’ … I will always be grateful to the students who saw potential in a badly injured dog and rescued her. Marlee has been a joy every day.”
The book is full of similar stories, and even more can be found on the book’s website.
(Learn more about the latest dog books at ohmidog’s book page, Good Dog Reads.)
Lufkin will hold a book signing Thursday, Nov. 12 at Halcyon House Antiques, 11219 Greenspring Ave. in Lutherville, from 5-7 pm. Admission is $50 and includes a copy of the book. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Maryland SPCA. For more information, contact Halycon House or the Maryland SPCA.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 6th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amputees, army medical center, assistance, blind, bombs, book, books, books on dogs, deaf, detection, diana walker, dog, dogs, drugs, elise lufkin, found dogs with a mission, hospitals, ill, marlee, nursing homes, people animals love, photography, prisons, rescue, rescued, service, strays, therapy, to the rescue, trained, walter reed, working
Texas police and Humane Society officials seized 500 to 600 dogs and about 15 cats Tuesday in a raid on what they say is a puppy mill in Kaufman County, Fox News reported.
The Humane Society began investigating the kennel when someone came to them inquiring about dog food donations for the operation. Authorities found poor living conditions and sickly animals when they visited the location.
The kennel operated in a large metal building in a rural area near the Prairieville community, about 45 miles southwest of Dallas.
The animals seized are mostly Chihuahuas, poodles and other small-breed dogs. They were examined by vets to determine which ones needed medical attention.
The seizure was conducted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), in conjunction with the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake and the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department.
“This day marks a new beginning for these animals, who are suffering from a variety of serious health conditions and have been kept in constant confinement their entire lives producing puppies for the profit of the mill owner,” said Scotlund Haisley, senior director of Emergency Services at HSUS.
The dogs were found to be living in filthy conditions. Many were severely matted and suffering from chronic infected wounds, internal and external parasites and serious skin and eye infections, officials said.
All of the animals were being transported to a nearby emergency shelter.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 12th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: breeder, cedar creek lake, chihuahuas, filthy, hsus, humane society, ill, kaufman county, kennel, neglect, poodles, prairieville, puppy mill, raid, rescue, shelter, sheriff's department, sick, texas
Jury selection begins this week in New Jersey in a lawsuit against CCPets, a Pennsylvania kennel with a long history of trouble.
Lewis and Stephanie Ostrander, of Cape May County, N.J., sued C.C. Pets alleging that the Labradoodle they bought in 2006 was diseased and dying, according to Philly Dawg, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s animal blog.
The lawsuit names kennel owners Joyce and Raymond Stoltzfus, who have a history of dog law violations and were the subject of the largest consumer settlement involving pet sales in Pennsylvania.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: breeders, cape may, cc pets, consumer, court, died, dog law, fines, health, ill, kennel, labradoodle, lawsuit, new jersey, ostrander, pennsylvania, puppy love, puppy mills, sick, stoltzfus, violations