Bubbles's Overdose

by Judy Nelson

Our ideas have really been interrupting Mom’s thoughts lately…or could it also be her artistic side that we all learned to appreciate during our lives with her? Sometimes it looked (and felt to her) like simple procrastination, however more often than not, after such a delay she was able to say, ‘Okay, now I see why I waited.’ Then because it was 30 some years ago, she had search for just the right photos! But we digress…

Days ago, Mom could sense that Katie Lou was no longer as anxious to tell her mental health story, no doubt off doing something else which was her bent during much of her earthly life—spent in a ‘world of her own’. Consequently, Mom once again had to relax into this quandary before retiring one night.

“SO I had her dream about ME,” Bubbles quips, “as a very old dog, but with enough energy left to lick her madly with my healthy teeth and gums as she picked me up from a babysitter.”

And that was a loud enough message for Mom to be inspired to let Bubbles share the first memorable health experience of her life.

“From the first time they saw me as a fluffy puppy, naming me Bubbles, I was exuberant, even ‘talking too much’, I’m told. I never wanted them out of my sight, either, so it was no surprise they enjoyed taking me with them to places like the Oregon beach as well as into the Idaho mountains to pick huckleberries or mushrooms.”

At this, Olga, Sugar I and Lobo all get dreamy looks remembering those same happy-go-lucky times with the family.

Not only mushrooms flourished in the cool, moist climate of the wooded hills, however, but also ticks, not to mention gigantic mosquitoes, so they tried a preventive measure this one time. 

Meant to keep those pests from Bubbles’s very curly coat, their favorite veterinarian mixed a concoction he used for horses, theoretically reducing the dosage to suit the size of a medium to small dog.

“On this weekend”, Bubbles continues, “I typically bounded exuberantly out of the car running down the gravel road as fast as my feet would carry me! Mom laughed as my U-turn skid sent me sprawling. Then up the hill, I raced with my family close behind.

Always sure-footed, Mom was surprised when I stumbled and fell. 

Looking more closely she saw a bit of blood on my lip and thought I’d fallen into a small hole nearby. But they realized I was in trouble when I growled at Dad as soon as he approached me. So Mom had to carry me (not a small dog) in her arms all the way back down the mountain.”

Everyone nods, wisely agreeing that love (and adrenalin) gives humans and animals alike the strength to do mighty things!

“My body quickly became lifeless and I began having trouble breathing!” 

Bubbles quickly goes on. “Mom was more afraid than I, not only because I was in her comforting embrace, but probably because she knew the vet’s office was 20+ miles down the mountain and in addition, it was a weekend! Soon she heard a gurgling sound coming from deep in my chest and wondered desperately if I was going to die in her arms.”

The ride and the wait to rouse the vet seemed endless to everyone.

The diagnosis was a strychnine-like poisoning brought on by the error in dosage—an ‘overdose’! 

“All just to keep the ticks & mosquitoes off me!”

Bubbles adds, “Of course the veterinarian was remorseful as he administered an antidote which took a bit (seemingly much longer) to restore all my vital signs, too. 

There were no charges…and no side effects, but I don’t recall seeing that vet again, either. I’m happy to report that I continued to hike, carefree, with the family—pests and all!”

Moral of the story: maybe experimenting with beloved pets, blindly believing those with lots of initials behind their names (without a second opinion) isn’t a very good idea!


Judy Nelson is an artist and animal lover. I met her through her Facebook group, Pet People. Her group is a CELEBRATION OF PETS & ANIMALS and sometimes their HUMANS!! Where animal lovers can share the words, photos, videos of or about their beloved pets—any species—any generation!

She also writes a blog PetWise by Judy, do check it out!

To learn more about Judy and see some of her artwork visit www.JudysArtAdventures.com.


  1. How awful and scary. Poor Bubbles and Mom. Thanks for sharing--it's good to question your vet as you would question your own treatment.

  2. How scary! I'm glad that Bubbles was okay!

  3. Yes, it ended well. It is a good lesson to be careful though.

  4. Thank you for sharing this story. Sometimes it can be quite confusing to decide what is prudent care and the right direction to take. I'm glad Bubbles is okay.

  5. Compounding medications if one is not an expert can be a deadly thing. I'm happy that Bubbles was saved in the nick of time! The same thing happened to those polo ponies that died in Florida last year.


  6. Oh wow, thank you for sharing that link, Karen. Yeah, all is well what ends well, and hopefully this will be a lesson to the rest of us.


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