How's this for a friendly reminder that the world isn't completely terrible: An adorable 7-week-old puppy was rushed to a veterinarian's office last week after ingesting an opioid drug—and he lived, thanks to a truthful owner and a fast-acting vet.
The tiny Shih-Tzu was brought to the Dewdney Animal Hospital in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, and was fading fast, according to a report from CTV News Vancouver. The dog's heart rate slowed to just 20 beats per minute and he was nonresponsive and not breathing very well.
Staff rushed to figure out what was wrong with the puppy, but tests showed he wasn't hypoglycemic; his blood sugar levels were fine. Then, veterinarian Adrian Walton asked the owner a tough question: Had the dog come into contact with any narcotic drugs? "He answered yes—fentanyl," Walton said in a Facebook video recounting the incident.
Yep, you heard that right: the Very Good Boy was said to have ingested the same synthetic opioid to blame for a surge in drug overdose deaths across the US and Canada. (Though the vet did not specify whether the dog came into contact with prescribed fentanyl for pain or street fentanyl.) And intravenous naloxone—the same opioid antidote used to revive humans after an overdose—was his only chance at survival.
"We were probably 15 seconds away from the heart completely stopping; he was completely non-responsive," Walton said in an interview with CTV. "We gave the injection and we had a brand new puppy." It took two doses of naloxone to revive the puppy, making vets suspect that he had actually ingested carfentanil, an even stronger, deadlier drug.
Following his treatment, the puppy—nicknamed Wallace after Uma Thurman's character in Pulp Fiction and her whole saved-from-an-overdose-by-a-shot-of-adrenaline thing—spent a week at Walton's home to recover. Wallace is now back with his owner after the British Columbia SPCA determined he'd be safe with the owner as long as he moves to a different house.
In all, yes, it's shitty that a 7-week-old puppy was able to get into dangerous opioids, but remember that the owner could've taken the even shittier route by keeping the drugs a secret. "This dog would have died if the owner had not fessed up and said 'this is what my animal got into,'" Walton said. Or brought him to the vet in the first place.
In the video the vet's office shared on Facebook, they encouraged people to be honest when they bring their animal to the vet. They wrote: "We really don't care what you smoke, ingest, or inject, we care about your pet."
Wally's doing great now, as you can see below.