Cruz’ bout with Water Hemlock

Spring is upon us soon, we’d like to remind Welshie owners and all other dogs to familiarize yourself with hemlock. Hemlock is an imposter species posing as grass and it stands in between the grass blades.

One Spring day, Cruz and I went out on a walk around Emigrant Lake for his midday rabbit chase.  As we went along our brush busting expedition we came to a small creek that we rest beside, it was a cold foggy morning and a bit nippy out. He seemed more thirsty than usual and started drinking mass quantities of the water, he was walking back and forth acting not himself just very uninterested in the hike, which is unlike him because hiking is his #1 favorite activity. I noticed that he wasn’t so intent on chasing the leaves down the creek but I shrugged it off thinking that I was getting in his way of possibly catching a rabbit. As we started to walk back through the brush towards the car to get home he seemed fatigued and actually began to shake. The shaking intensified to the point where it looked like his muscles were spasming. It was cold out so I thought that he was just shivering from playing in the creek. I began to worry, he just didn’t seem himself so I started to  backtrack and think of what could have caused his state at that moment. The only thing I could recollect was that he had eaten a patch of grass at the beginning of our hike.

As we passed the spot on the way back I noticed that there was hemlock in the patch of grass that he was eating so as I got him back to the car I figured there were two possible medical scenarios either that he had been poisoned or he had hypothermia. I rushed him back to the house as fast as possible with the heater on high, when I got to he house I put him under the blankets next to my bare skin. That got the shaking to recede, he only shivered maybe every 10 seconds, he began to have trouble swallowing and still was unresponsive when I was calling him or trying to get his attention. He was dry and warm but couldn’t seem to regulate his body heat, I knew at that point that he was poisoned. I immediately jumped into action, and called for my wife to hold him, I knew he was dying and time was of the essence. The poison was running ramped through his body and his eyes were beginning to roll. I had a bag of mesquite wood charcoal (the non self lighting) left over from last years 4th of July celebration, I grabbed a big junk out of the bag and wrapped it up in a towel and began to pound it with my meat tenderizing mallet till it became dust. Rolled it into a ball adding water so it would form almost like a ball of dough about the size of a large marbles,  I opened his mouth and pushed them down his throat. In 20 minutes I began to see progress, the life returned to his eyes, the shaking completely stopped, and his breathing was back to normal. It seemed like an eternity but it was only 20 minutes, in about two hours he got up walked downstairs and drank some water. It was a very close call for him that day but quick thinking and the knowledge that I had about the situation saved his life. He made a full recovery, we took him to the vet soon after and found no kidney damage was done.

Everybody with dogs should be familiar with hemlock, this is what it looks like at its full growth, its the flowering plants you see. At its earliest stage the stems resemble very closely to the grass.



Please share this post to all your dog owning friends!

From your breeder, Pete.


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