Friday, January 25, 2013

A tragedy averted

The following story comes from a friend of mine in Minnesota. Her name is Sage Lewis and she has given permission for her experiences to be shared with others in the hopes of preventing other potential tragedies such as this. She and her dog, Java, are very lucky. And, as Sage writes, Java obviously knew what to do to help as best she could in recent weeks. Dogs are miraculous creatures, aren't they?

All who know Sage and Java are thankful the mystery is solved and that they are both on the road to recovery. A second excerpt follows Sage's story. It offers some clarification, corrections and additional information on recommendations Sage makes for staying safe.

I hope you will read, remember and give this link to others. The lives you save could be your own and that of your precious animals.


Monday, January 21, 2013, 7:21 p.m.

Hi, Everyone-
It appears the mystery's been solved....

Please add this to your list of "one big reason an animal (or human) might not be feeling well."

The beginning of October, my dog, Java began being finicky with food - first time in her life. This coincided with the death of her dog friend, and the beginning of heating season. Java turned 12 on 11/2.

In November, she began skipping meals and having seizure-like episodes. In December, her symptoms worsened and, on January 1, she stopped eating on her own completely.

As the fall/winter unfolded, Java's health issues became more severe: vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, lethargy, confusion, lack of coordination, seizures and lack of appetite.

Vets, healers and animal communicators revealed a variety of information - all of which supported her healing in many ways, but was inconclusive as far as a diagnosis. She wasn't getting better. 

A week ago, I dug deeper into my own well of confidence and intuition. I refused to give up hope because it appeared to me that she "just didn't feel well." [It] seemed like she had a virus.

On Friday morning, I had a routine tune-up scheduled for my furnace with a company I had never worked with - a coupon I had purchased in the fall from Living Social. January was the soonest appointment.

After checking the furnace for three minutes, the guy came upstairs with a shocked look and informed me he had to condemn my furnace immediately and turn off the gas, that I had lethal amounts of carbon monoxide coming from the furnace. He told me Java and I were lucky to be alive. 

My new furnace has less than 23ppm in the flue. The old furnace was over 500ppm which can kill in three hours.

We were the first call of the day, so my furnace was turned off two hours after it kicked in. There were angels watching over us. I'm humbled and incredibly grateful.

For six weeks, Java has gotten me up between 2 and 3 a.m. to go outside and go potty. In hindsight, it wasn't a bladder issue, it was a need for fresh air. I don't doubt she saved both of us.

The symptoms for CO poisoning are not always noticed by humans unless they're severe. Animals are obviously hit a lot harder.

A saving grace may have been the tri-weekly vet visits that got her out of the house for a few hours, and the multitude of errands we ran. (I was told to keep her quiet so her spleen could rest, but I decided to let her be herself and bounce around the car when I ran into stores rather than stay home.) I figured if she was going to burst her spleen, she'd at least be happy doing it! Now I'm glad I took her with me so much.

At this point, we are hopeful Java will recover fully. I've been force feeding her a liver tonic diet for over a week (before the furnace issue), so that's helped her regain a lot of her fire. It will take time. Even though she's 12, she is a strong dog with a strong spirit, and has had wonderful love and care. Me, I feel a little "off" but I'm taking good care of myself. Reaching out is a part of that.

So, please have the gas chambers checked in your furnace. Not all companies do this on a routine check. I had two cracked gas chambers on Friday - who knows for how long. I have had my furnace checked yearly by a company who I'm finding out doesn't always do a complete check in their tune up. 

Please also consider installing at least two CO detectors that are close to the ground.* I had one installed with a good battery and it didn't discharge. It was above a door near the bedroom. I now have three in my house, as well as a brand new furnace, and fresh air.

So, I'm sending love and gratitude to all of you, and a big thank you to everyone who reached out to us with their "out of the box ideas".


 *"If you are a user of natural gas, we recommend you mount your unit high on the wall (no closer than 15cm (6") from the ceiling) using the extendable cord feature to ensure the earliest opportunity to detect a natural gas leak.

If you are a user of propane, we recommend you mount your unit near the floor (using the direct plug in feature) to ensure the earliest opportunity to detect a propane leak.

Propane is much heavier than air and will collect at lower levels

Both propane and natural gas are colourless and odourless.  For safety reasons, an odourant (mercaptan) is added so that any leak can be detected by smell."

NEVER enter your home if you hear the gas alarm going off inside.

Note: quoted from the Garrison handbook.

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