On Tuesday, February 9th, business owner of We Thrive in Belleville Sarah Hutchison and her puppy Bo were enjoying a walk along the waterfront trails of downtown Belleville before returning to her office. After a nap, Bo began showing signs that something was wrong as he tried to stand but continued to fall over.
After several attempts to stand and continued tremors, Hutchison rushed 15-week-old Bo to the animal hospital where he was quickly diagnosed with marijuana toxicity.
As a young puppy, Bo has instincts to scavenge for items on the ground is still learning not to eat everything he sees.
“Bo and I were walking the trails along the waterfront downtown by City Hall,” explained Hutchison. “I did remove something from his mouth that day, but I didn’t realize that it was marijuana at the time.”
The veterinarians prescribed Bo two activated charcoal treatments to speed up the process of removing the marijuana toxins from Bo’s body.
Within 24 hours, Bo was back to his normal self, but Hutchison said that when she brought Bo home from the hospital he oscillated between moments of lethargy, paranoia and aggression. Hutchison said that Bo would be lying docile one moment, and the next moment was tearing around the house fearful and erratic, with a few moments of incontinence and dilated pupils.
Hutchison said that the experience of watching Bo deal with tremors, losing his balance, whining, shaking and crying was terrifying.
“As a puppy, it’s clear to me now that I need to muzzle him when we walk in public places to keep him safe,” said Hutchison. “It’s not ideal for him to have to wear a muzzle, but it’s for his protection.”
After sharing her experience on Facebook, Hutchison realized that many residents of Belleville have experienced the same issues with their pets and marijuana while on a walk-in Belleville.
“I just wanted to post on Facebook to share with my friends about our experience, and to hopefully alert them to this condition in dogs who ingest marijuana,” said Hutchison. “I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to experience that with the pet that they love. “I truly thought he was having a major health crisis at the moment, and I rushed him to the hospital as fast as I could.”
According to the animal hospital that treated Bo, ever since the legalization of marijuana, they have seen several cases a week of dogs dealing with these symptoms.
As residents of Belleville continue to smoke marijuana in public spaces and dispose of the remains on the ground, dogs and animals in the area are at risk of contracting marijuana toxicity.
“I love my dog dearly, and I know that all pet owners feel the same,” added Hutchison. “I hope that with a little awareness, we can work together to keep our trails, sidewalks and outdoor spaces safe for all animals.”
Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer