In June of 2012 I received a private email from Natasha about her dog Jesse’s behavior after they tragically lost another of their pack. I added Natasha’s story to our blog at Change in Behavior After Pack Member Dies where you can read this devastating story from the beginning. I can definitely imagine the heartbreak this family is going through and my heart goes out to them. To lose one dog to this kind of thing is bad enough but now it’s happened again! Natasha is asking for help in figuring out what is killing her dogs because to date her vet and everyone else who’s been involved in trying to help Natasha and her family cannot figure out what’s killing their dogs.
The photo above is Jesse and shared in her memory, may you rest peacefully sweet girl. You didn’t deserve what happened to you and your family misses you so much! Please read the update from Natasha and if you have any ideas or suggestions, please add your comments to this post.
I had wrote you once about what was happening in my backyard. About my girl, Jesse, getting into whatever the other pups had and us being able to save her. We thought it was rat poison and it has not occurred again since 2012 until now…. I am writing to update you that it happened again and this time it killed my girl. I have been devastated by this and have tried to get help everywhere. Please share my story because I am completely out of options.
Jesse’s behavior increasingly got better after working a lot more with her. We were able to socialize her more and her and our son finally gained a special bond. She still seemed sad though and there was a small missing piece from all of our hearts with Max being gone. So after searching high and low I found the perfect puppy to bring job to us all. Jesse loved Sammy immediately. Oh they played so much and she was like a Momma to him. She would take him around the fence line, she herded him, she loved on him, and she just turned into a big pup at times. I was overjoyed to see it work out so very well. Then disaster struck out home…
We had been throwing the pack outside again. It had been over a year and a half since any situations happen … I will never forgive myself.
December 7, 2013 was our son’s third birthday. I had been out of town for a week with my sick grandfather [the one who gave us Jesse], but I drove all night to be there for my son’s birthday. It had been raining for about four days and was still very damp outside. That morning Jesse let me know she had to potty so I put them all out in the backyard, which wasn’t unusual by this time. I observed the dogs playing outside (nothing unusual). I went upstairs to change my son’s clothes and peeped out his window at them again; I’ve been so cautious [to the point where my husband and friends have told me I need to relax a little] because it always stayed in the back of my mind that we never found out for sure what our dogs had gotten into [through testing]. Jesse and Sammy were in the back of the yard, on the left hand side, against the fence (opposite side of the yard where all the other situations occurred). My son and I finished getting ready upstairs (about 30 minutes) and walked downstairs. I heard Sammy whining, so I took a peek outside; our nightmare was beginning all over again.
Jesse was in the grass close to our deck when I checked on them from downstairs. She was drooling excessively; it looked like it was thick drool because it went from her mouth almost all the way to the grass and it looked like grass was in the drool. Upon observation she started having head spasms and I knew immediately that I didn’t have a lot of time. I called my husband to come home immediately. All I had to say was “Max symptoms” and he didn’t even say bye. He just hung up and tried to get home as quick as he could. Jesse went from a sitting position to a sawhorse position, fell over on her side, and started seizing.
Since it was just me and my three year old I didn’t feel like I could pick her up or put her in the car with my son. So, I literally just watched her from my window and cried. I pulled the other two dogs in and checked them over; they weren’t showing any Max symptoms. About twenty minutes passed before my husband was able to get home. When he got home she was in a seizure state without any time passing between seizures similar to Max. Her pupils were contracted. We put a blanket over the top part of her body to try to get her to calm down. My husband tried to keep her cool (because seizures can make a dog’s temper rise very quickly), but she just wouldn’t stop seizing. It was like she was fighting it and then just gave up. We called the emergency vet again; again we were told that we could try to bring her in for fluids and medications to try to control the tremors/spasms/seizures, but based on what we were telling them they felt like she was too far gone. So, once again, we had to make the choice to put our fur-baby down.
I cannot begin to explain the emotions that we have experienced. I have done nothing but research and search for the source of this since December 7th. Once again, no vomit; no dig marks anywhere; nothing chewed on; just nothing. It’s maddening. We had a necropsy done by the emergency clinic Vet (because it was a weekend) and she said she didn’t find anything physically wrong with her and there wasn’t anything but dog food in her stomach. We requested a toxin report. When the toxin report came in my regular Vet explained to me (over the phone) that the pathologist couldn’t do it because Jesse’s samples were put in formaldehyde. The Veterinarian that performed the necropsy literally corrupted Jesse’s samples losing all chances of finding (or ruling out) whatever toxin has been the cause of all this death.
No fur-baby or human (except me and my husband) have been allowed in our backyard; it’s completely quarantined. I have called everyone down here that I can think of: the extension office, the poison control, animal control, the police department, the local humane society, four different Vets (that messed up every chance we had to test for toxins), six different mycologists (because I found wild mushrooms growing in our yard), exterminators, and nobody can/will help me.
It’s has got to the point I know how people will respond to this because everyone [and I do mean everyone] says the same things. “I’ve never heard of that; that sounds like a chemical; are you sure nobody is poisoning your animals?” I’ve never seen anything like it in my life and I was raised on a farm in Alabama; I know it sounds some type of chemical, but I have yet to find one; and, there is so my debris around my yard that someone would have to have a substantial amount of hate for us to try to poison our dogs. Let me also mention that our neighbors dog barks all the time and constantly gets out, yet he is still alive, while my babies are gone. I have walked my backyard too many times to count. I have spent countless hours researching what can do this to a dog. I cry every day that I cannot figure out what is going on in our backyard. We are literally discussing selling our house, but how could we, in good conscious, sell this home to another family with animals?
ANY help, any story, any new suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am out of ideas. I am out of people to contact in my local area. I do not know what to do other than communicate to the animal communities directly and ask- has anyone been through this or heard of this?
Do you have any suggestions or ideas at all what might be killing this family’s dogs and what they can do to help prevent it in the future?
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Why would anyone want to kill a good little dog.Cause I love dogs
What state do you live in? Bufo toads can kill a dog fairly quickly.
Thank you for sharing this info, Teri!
My heart goes out to this family. Losing a pet is hard, especially when you don’t know what the cause is. The only thing I can think of other than poison would be an electrical surge in the ground that is unknown and both of her dogs happened to find that spot. Please keep us updated if you hear back.
Thanks, John. I don’t know if they thought of this or not but it’s something to consider. I haven’t heard from them in awhile and I hope in the mean time they’ve found the cause and not lost any more furbabies.
That is so true I cry when any dog has died
Is it conceivable that there is some snail bait in the area?
“If ingested by dogs or cats tremors, drooling, and restlessness will proceed to seizures and death within hours to days if treatment is not started quickly”
Thanks so much for the info contribution, David. I’ll make sure that Natasha sees this. They’ve truly gone far and above what the average pet owner would do to find the source of what’s killing their dogs but this could very well be something they or the people they’ve had investigating haven’t thought of. I know they are desperate to learn the truth.