Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Close Call

I live in an 85 year old bungalow in an older part of town. It's a great old neighborhood - the oak trees planted back in 1925 form an arched canopy over the streets, the houses are well-kept, most of them sporting big front porches, and the neighbors are friendly. I absolutely adore my house, with its creaky hardwood floors and oddly shaped rooms, except for one thing: those old oak trees swarm with squirrels, birds and other assorted critters like the occasional 'possum, raccoon, and unfortunately, mice. Well, occasionally one of those critters will find its way into my attic (we've never found out where), despite our best efforts to keep them out. There's nothing more aggravating to hear one of those little boogers scratching away in the ceiling over your head at about 3 in the morning, let me tell ya.

Anyway, over the years, I've found the only way to keep them under control is to put bars of rat poison at strategic spots in the attic. (Yes, I feel guilty about it, but again - having your house eaten from the inside out and having to worry about a critter falling through the ceiling makes guilt a fact of life.) So last Friday, I heard the tell-tale scratching, and with a sigh, broke out the rat poison, and put two bars in the attic.

Yesterday afternoon, in keeping with my regular routine, I fed my dog, Echo (my best bud, my compadre, my constant companion - here she is with HER constant companion, the cat). When she was through eating, I put her outside, as always. Ten minutes later I walked out the back door and saw her lying in the grass, eating something. I almost did nothing, because what she was eating was green, and for a moment I assumed she was just being a dog and eating the grass.

It was RAT POISON. A chunky green bar of rat poison, obviously one of the ones I'd put in the attic two days earlier. Whatever critter had been in had obviously decided to take the bait, but then took it OUTSIDE to eat it. I have a two story house, so I'm thinking it fell from the roof into the yard, where my dog found it.

Needless to say, I freaked. I called the vet, who immediately wanted to know if I still had the box (which, luckily, I did). When I read her the "instructions to veterinarians" she interrupted me and said, "Get her in here, NOW." My son and I rushed her to the vet, where her stomach was emptied and then filled with charcoal. She was given an antidote, and has to take it twice a day for the next two weeks, as there's still a slight chance of kidney failure. Over $300.00 and two hours later, I brought her home, very grateful that I'd seen her eating that green chunk.

If I hadn't, she would've started vomiting, gone into kidney failure, and died before we ever had a clue what was wrong. I mean, what are the odds of her eating rat poison that was left in the attic, of all places?

Anyway, all's well that ends well, as they say. But if there's one thing I learned yesterday, it's to expect the unexpected, and never take those you love for granted - including your dog.


Tami said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your dog, but very glad that you were able to get everything under control in time.

Terri said...

Thanks, Tami. She seems fine, but has to go back for blood work in two weeks. Keep your fingers crossed for her!

Danielle said...

Omg, how terrifying! It's especially scary when one realizes that only by chance, fate, or the grace of God, that you happened upon the scene. I (and my six dogs & two cats)join you in being thankful and relieved. We'll say special prayers tonight to thank the stars for your good fortune (and your good vet.)



Terri said...

Yes, Danielle - she's been getting lots of extra attention and treats this week! :-) I keep looking at her and thinking she would've been dead days ago if I hadn't seen her eating it.

Have a good week!