Franco The Forager

Franco and I did a road trip this past week. We left early Thursday morning in the pickup, bound for Lansing for a short visit with my parents. After some initial whining, Franco usually settles down and is a pretty good traveler.

I brought his crate along, which he had spent a great deal of time as a puppy. Once we felt we could trust him in the house at night, we put the crate away, and mostly only use it when we’re travelling. Franco feels good about his crate, and once we arrived in Lansing and hauled it into the basement of the house, he entered his crate and lay down without complaining. Mom and Dad’s home has light colored carpeting and has numerous fragile items a big dogs tail could knock down, so I carefully brought him through the house with his leash on, down the stairs, and into his crate each night.

On Friday night, my two brothers and their families met us at a restaurant for dinner. Included in the evening was my older brothers son and his son. Like a lot of little boys, Connor was interested in dogs, but skeptical about big dogs. After eating dinner out, we all came back to my parent’s place for dessert, and Connor said he’d like to meet Franco. I took him downstairs and let Franco out of his crate. Connor was a bit scared at first, but Franco soon won him over, and Connor was brave enough to stroke his fur. Things were going fine until I heard a crunching sound.

Mom and Dad had had some trouble with mice in the house, and had spread some rat poison on the basement floor. Apparently this stuff is made to smell and taste good, and Franco ate one of the pellets before I could stop him. I immediately put him back in his crate and ran upstairs to announce that we needed to locate some emergency care for him. Of course it was after hours on a Friday night, so the normal vets were closed for the weekend. Then someone remembered the vet clinic at MSU. I loaded Franco up in the truck while my brother and his partner drove to the clinic with me following close behind. I think we got him there within a half hour of eating the poison.

The staff at the clinic were very professional, and as soon as we got him inside, I began to settle down. I’m trained as a medical first responder, but I can tell you that when your own loved ones are involved, all your training goes out the window. When they brought Franco out, I learned they had gotten him to eat a bunch of activated charcoal, which should neutralize the effects of the poison. Left to its own devices, the poison would attack Franco’s blood’s ability to clot, eventually making him bleed to death. The vet suggested I bring him by on Sunday morning on my way back home. They wanted to check his blood’s ability to clot. If it was compromised, we’d need to keep him on vitamin K supplements for a month. If not, we were good to go.

When I brought him back at 6:00 on Sunday morning, I had to ring the buzzer to get inside. I was met by a vet tech and a vet. I explained to them we were there to get the blood test, and the vet was explaining to me what the cost would be. Franco was on his leash, but was sniffing around. Suddenly he lifted his leg and peed on the floor! NO! I yelled to him, and grabbed his scruff and pushed him to the ground as is my habit. After I was done, the vet and vet tech were looking at me kind of strange. The vet said, “I thought you were upset at the price I quoted you for the blood test.” We all laughed at that one.

They took Franco to the back room and when they came out they told me his blood was normal. Yipee.

One Response to “Franco The Forager”

  1. Mel says:

    This is a good reminder, and I’m glad you shared the story. My folks also put down poison for the mice that find their way into the house. I believe it’s all in the basement, so we’ll have to make sure we keep Daisy upstairs any time we visit – and also verify that there’s none up there, too.

    That being said, she loved her one visit to their house… especially the running down the hall, through their door and bounding up into their bed in the morning part. (Just like the rest of the grandkids.)

    Glad to hear that Franco came through his ordeal OK!

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