I had an unusual situation happen last month; that I feel warrants a post.  Here at Winters Wind we are organic as we can be.  Being a cancer patient and having animals I naturally lean toward a holistic lifestyle for myself, family and my dogs.  I had a puppy here from a litter that my male had sired; due to the death of the breeders husband she asked me to raise them for her.  I wanted to help and so raised these puppies and found them homes.  Leo was here for extra training and twelve weeks old, he was full of life and happiness.  He was getting ready to go home in one week.  

We live in a rural farming area and surrounded by fields of corn and soy beans; large steel irrigation arms dot the landscape.  The sound of whish, whish, whish fills the air along with water being thrown high over the silken corn stalks.  Most children, myself included desire to run under one of cold streams of water on a hot summer day.  This day was like most others quiet; dogs sleeping in the shade, the buzzing of a beetle or a fly, too hot to do much.  So the droning sound over the fields was out of place; the sound getting louder but no plane in sight.  Suddenly a small bright yellow plane, skimmed over the tops of the corn and lifted slightly as it cleared our fence and trees.  Crop Duster!!!! 

We scurried as so many army ants; yelling as I go to my son "Crop Duster!  Get the dogs in!"   We work in tandem, opening gates and running with the dogs into shelter to be clear of any over spray.  I can smell the odor of chemicals as I run.  Quickly closing windows and turning on the air conditioning, like a type of gas mask.  The sound of the plane going over our home; is like being in a war zone.  It just clears our roof as it makes it's assault on the insects that are invading the fields.  Twenty minutes go by and finally it is quiet once again.  The yellow hornet has left and I sit and wait to see if it will return.  After waiting another 20 minutes I venture outside; the air is heavy with the scent of the spray.  We remain indoors the rest of the afternoon.  Only allowing the dogs a potty break, near the house.

The following morning we go about our day as usual.  Dogs and Pups go out to play after breakfast.  Before the heat of the day invades us; they come in and nap.  More play time will come after the cool of late afternoon arrives.  We let the crew out again around 4 PM to play and enjoy the last of the day's sunshine.  Around 5, my son comes running into the house yelling their is something wrong with Leo!  I bolted to the pasture where the pups had been playing.  Leo was shaking, barely able to stand and his head was twitching in an odd sort of way.  I scooped him up, took him inside and began to asses the situation.  

Thinking he may have gotten overheated I began to cool him off in the tub; the odd twitching continued.  Took his temperature it was normal, but he was beginning to have convulsions.  I loaded Leo into the truck, called my vet as I backed out of the drive.  

By the time we arrived at the vet's, Leo was in full blown convolutions and having tremors.  I love my vets; its a clinic of 4 women who still make house calls!  I knew Leo would need to be admitted.  After his evaluation they felt he had gotten into chemicals, but I don't have any chemicals he could get into!  Leo, kept trying to wag his tail, and licking anyone he could, while twitching.  It was heart breaking and I thought he would die.  I called his owner to let her know what was happening.  She is a lovely lady, who lost her last standard poodle to seizures and was devastated to hear the  news.  I promised to keep her updated.

Leo was at the clinic for 4 days; he was put on all types of medications, flushed with IV fluids, and still stayed the same.  The vets said they had done all they could do; so I brought Leo home.  He was on seizure medications and steroids.  I called his "Mom" and we chatted at length.  She had spoken to her vet and felt that she could not take Leo.  She just could not go through that again.  I understood and said Leo could have a home here with us.  

Leo, was a heart ache to watch.  He was so happy, and wanted to play with the other dogs. Taking him out to potty, was so hard; he kept falling and joyfully getting back up.  I was afraid he would break his neck.  It wasn't long before I realized he needed the one on one attention of a special caring family.  I posted his story on a FB page for special needs standard poodles.  The right person responded; she was an acupuncturist who specialized in  neurological issues!  She feel in love with Leo's story and photo. So after talking and getting vet references; arraignments were made for her to come and get Leo.  

The ensuing time while waiting for her to come were spent getting Leo ready.  Everyday he made progress!  Less tremors, the convulsions were getting milder so he stumbled and fell less.  In 5 days we all marveled at his joyful progress and can do attitude.  I was sending videos and in phone contact with her during this miraculous time.  She was surprised and so pleased at his progress.  He was now able to play with the older pups; as in the days before the yellow hornet descended breathing fire on our prairie.  

The day finally came for Leo's new family to come.  He and I spend our last time bathing and grooming.  My husband suggested a final walk down the lane to the butterfly tree.  The evening was waning, and the glow of the sun setting turned our walk rosy.  As we reached the tree; a white SUV came down the road toward us.  I knew somehow is was Leo's new family.  The car stopped, a willowy young woman stepped out of the passenger door.  "Is this Leo?"  She asked as she looked with awe at this handsome little man, standing so tall.  "Yes" I responded.  She knelt down, embraced him and Leo in turn snuggled into her; I think he knew this was his new forever Mom.  I asked her if she wanted to take the leash and walk back to house with Leo.  The three of us took that slow stroll, chatting about his miraculous come back, her awe of him and how excited she was to have him be part of their family.

When it was time for them to leave.  We snuggled our sweet Leo, the puppy that could; kissed him and knew in our hearts that the story was just beginning for Leo.

I touch base weekly on Leo and his family.  Leo goes to her clinic and greets the patients!  He has made a recovery that is nothing short of a miracle.  Leo is also going to train to be a diabetic alert dog for his "Dad"! 

Leo's story has a happy ending..........it may not have.  The moral of this story is:  When the lawn green man puts out that sign that says safe in 24 hours for pets and children or the neighbor sprays round up on the property edge ...... BE AWARE it can take up to 48 hours for chemicals to clear off the grass; especially with no rain or sprinklers.  Keep your pets chemical free as possible.

I am contacting our local farmers to make me aware when they are having their crops dusted, to prevent this from ever happening again on our prairie oasis.

AuthorKaren Winters