Magazine article The Spectator

Rover Dose

Magazine article The Spectator

Rover Dose

Article excerpt

What happened when my dog ate a Hackney drug stash?

The other day my five-year-old Labrador was diagnosed with acute cannabis intoxication. I had been taking Olga for a walk on Hackney Downs when she disappeared behind an abandoned railway. I imagined she had found some fox shit and was rolling in it delightedly. Bad pooch!

On the way home she began to stumble and fall over; half an hour later she was virtually unconscious. With Olga disoriented and whimpering in the car we drove to a vet in Canonbury.

The vet took one look at Olga. 'Very subdued. Seems almost sedated. Most likely it's a case of oral marijuana poisoning.' Marijuana? 'It's got nothing to do with me, ' I said. My chocolate-brown retriever was now zonked on the table. The vet asked me to wait upstairs while he administered a sedative preparatory to inducing Olga to vomit to see what she might have eaten. Slug bait would show up green in the regurgitation, he explained; rat poison, blue.

What about cannabis?

'Cannabis is harder to detect. We'd be looking for a tell-tale piece of shrink wrap.

Odds are, Olga gobbled up a stash awaiting pick up. Hackney Downs, you say? She's quite far gone, poor thing.' Olga was put on a drip; the whites of her eyes were showing.

Upstairs in reception, I heard an aggressive barking followed by howling. 'That can't be Olga, ' I thought. 'I know her bark.' In fact she had responded badly to the Diazepam sedation which , combined with the likely cannabis, had evoked a 'bizarre rage episode' in her and attempts to bite the vet. Olga was having a bad canine trip, in short, with attendant paranoia, perhaps, and hallucinations.

A call to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service confirmed the vet's suspicions.

Labradors are scavenging creatures who will eat pretty well anything. The man who was supposed to pick up the stash must have been well pleased. Shit, man! Another Labrador.

(Olga bites back at Hackney drug crime! ) Actually, all over London, vets are reporting a rise in toxicity cases involving canines.

After slug bait and chocolate, cannabis is among the most hazardous substances that a dog can ingest. The potent, Special Brew varieties of cannabis currently available to teenagers (skunk, haze) may take your dog to a far continent of anxiety, if not coma. …

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