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Tashi and the ‘Shroom

March 26, 2014

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When my daughter, Melody, brought Tashi home from the shelter, she had to make the decision of what collar and leash to buy for her. She chose a matching set with rainbows and peace signs—not because it fits her era, which blossomed as a garden of flowers and hummingbirds tattooed on her back, but more because my kids see me as their little hippie mom. (What they don’t know is I spent a great deal of the 60’s in bell bottoms or long skirts, circling the lake, dipping my toes into the culture, but never getting totally naked and diving in.)

Still, I know something about shrooms and hallucinogenics because I did live in the era of Timothy Leary, Ram Das, and Lucy in the Sky and the blissful and fearful “who am I?” inner exploration. So what does that have to do with Tashi.

Tashi is a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd puppy, and like all babies, everything she sees goes into her mouth. Fear came in the packet that arrived with her from the shelter in the form of a list of poisons that read like a description of my backyard:

Narcissus and daffodil bulbs, check. Grapes, check. Onions and garlic, check. Three large avocado trees….wait a minute! I used to live in an avocado grove with a big fat golden retriever who had a thick, glossy coat. The grove rats would drop unripe avocados, and Hasha would wait till they were soft and buttery and eat them; no problem there except the calories. I had a toy poodle who used to beg for grapes before we knew they were bad, and then there was the time our golden mix, Kalani. devoured a box of Sees Candy; the vet said to watch her, and she didn’t even get sick. What should I believe?

I took Tashi into the garden on her hippie leash and watched her every move. I made sure she learned the command, “drop it,” right away and used it when she grabbed a bunch of California Holly Berries from the Toyon tree—the big Toyon tree that drops berries all over my yard. We came in and I locked her in my den with me while I Googled Toyon berries. The human poison website listed them as presenting with symptoms similar to those for cyanide. I called and was told the human poison hotline did not discuss anything for other species, but they gave me a number for a place that charges $40. to discuss dog poisoning. Instead I called the local emergency animal hospital. The girl who answered didn’t know what a Toyon berry was, but suggested I bring Tashi in for some expensive tests. Since I did not see Tashi ingest a berry, I decided to watch. When she had no symptoms for 48 hours, I relaxed. By now she was beginning to use the doggie door and go out on her own, but she had learned not to pick up Toyon berries.

A few days later, we were out in the garden. She would pick up a piece of bark and I would say, “drop it.” Then it was a stick (avocado?)—“drop it.” A cherry tomato—“drop it.“ Then an ugly dried bulbous thing—“drop it.” By the time I got back from adding it to the trash with the other items, she was barfing—a lot! I went back and retrieved the thing but couldn’t tell whether she had ingested any of it because it was old and dry and looked like there might have been another part that had broken off. Scooping up Tashi and the thing, I raced into the house and put her on her bed where she barfed more as I called the vet.

They were full, but I could bring her for a walk-in or pay $300 for an emergency. I opted to put her in the car and race in for a walk-in. By the time we arrived at the vet, 15 minutes away, she had barfed all over the passenger side of the front seat and was lying in it. We arrived in the waiting room, both of us covered with vomit, and I am guessing our mutual condition hastened our getting into the examination room.

I know and love our veterinarian who made sure Tashi vomited more and then gave her charcoal. There was no way to immediately identify the old and dry mushroom/fungus Tashi had gotten into, but the doctor said it would either have more gastric repercussions or, if it was a hallucinogen, there might be neurological effects, but they might not appear for another hour or so.

I wasn’t about to go home, so I wandered the aisles of Petsmart. Would more rubber chew toys keep her from being so attracted to garden detritus? I wondered if she was tripping out as I found some sort of spray gunk food to go in one of the toys; me, the vegetarian organic nut buying spray can dog food? I added it to the growing number of chew toys in my cart. In the toy department, I met a young gringo couple who live in Mexico and had a pit bull puppy in their grocery basket. I was wearing my Guadalajara T-shirt and the Crocs I garden in (they were the fastest thing to slip on when I was racing to the vet) and they immediately assumed I was a cool hippie. Do I really look like that? Do I emit some kind of weird vibes?

Back home, except for some black charcoal poop, Tashi was fine. Since then I cut back a plant called Brumansia or Angel’s Trumpet and decided to check it out on line. Wikipedia says:

Brugmansia have traditionally been used in many South American indigenous cultures in medical preparations and as a ritualistic hallucinogen for divination, to communicate with ancestors, as a poison in sorcery and black magic, and for prophecy.”

More things to worry about! As far as I know, Tashi has not tripped on ‘shrooms or anything else psychedelic and I continue to monitor her excursions to the backyard. But I wonder: does any of this have to do with the hippie leash? Karma?

From → Prose, Uncategorized

6 Comments
  1. I had a dog that suffered from coprophagia and ate some poop from a meth user and had a reaction (I let my dogs run off leash in an open space preserve frequented by the homeless). Just like kids, it’s impossible to protect them from everything–shit happens ; )

  2. Having a new puppy in your life is like having a baby in the house again — worry, worry, worry! And expensive!!! Our “puppy” is almost 14 now, and he’s still a worry (and expensive)! SIGH. Because we know more now, we worry more. Maybe we’re just more vigilant “puppy parents” now 🙂

    • Yep–She got sick again last night and I was up watching her breathe probably every hour. Gave her pumpkin and rice this morning and she seems to be fine.

  3. ravishreminiscence permalink

    Your daughter and Tashi is so cute!

    Ravish Reminiscence

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