Sunday, April 18, 2010

Close Call!

If you know me, you know that within the past six weeks we have had to put our dog, Teddy, and a cat that adopted us, Frankie, to sleep. We have a hard time coping with "empty nest" (lack of a dog) and a co-worker had two puppies for which she needed to find homes, so we became mom and dad to Charlie and Lucy.

Friday afternoon when I got home from work Dan met me at the back door and said that the puppies had vomited all afternoon. He was in the process of cleaning up the puddles of plant matter they had thrown up in their crates and on the utility room floor. You know puppies, if it's there, it's in their mouths. I guess they must have eaten something in the morning while I was getting ready for work, because they stay in the house during the day. They were really, really sick. I decided to get online and check on the toxicity of the plants in our backyard  pots and flower beds. I was particularly worried about the sago palms.

Wow, did I get an education. Sago palms are one of the top five most poisonous plants in the world. Every part of the plant is poisonous to humans and animals. If a pet ingests the plant, there is pretty much no hope because it destroys the liver. When I read that, Dan and I put the puppies in the car and headed for the Veterinary Emergency Clinic. They vomited all the way there and back. When we signed in at the clinic, we noticed that there was a sign warning about the dangers of sago palm. Why haven't we known this before? Why isn't there a warning on those plants that are so readily available at Lowe's and Home Depot? Even though I wouldn't expect children to put a part of the plant in their mouths, you never know what could happen.

The vet treated the puppies for their dehydration and vomiting and told us to watch them for the rest of the weekend. When I told the technician that we had sago palms, she said we would just hope and pray that wasn't what Charlie and Lucy ingested.

This morning the puppies seem to be back to their old selves, running and playing. We have learned a lot through this experience. I went to the ASPCA web site and got a list of plants that are toxic and could cause death. There are many sites that give the toxicity levels of common plants to humans and pets. Would you believe: lantana, azaleas, hydrangeas, aloe vera, kalanchoes, snake plants, scheffelera, hostas, caladiums, and lillies to name a few? Those are the ones in our back yard. Any future landscaping will be done with the list of non-toxic plants in hand.

So...guess what Dan's been doing?

Don't fence me in!

Not only will Lucy and Charlie be unable to get to the plants, Katie and Hannah won't be able to get to the pool. Both are good things! I don't think it looks bad, either. We'll put some (non-toxic) plants in some pots next to it and it'll look like a part of the landscaping.

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