One local boy is without his best friend after his four-year-old dog was poisoned in the backyard of his Kentwood home last week.
Meghan Elgert left her home around noon on May 22nd for just over an hour. She let both of her dogs outside in the backyard to play – Phineus, a Maltese-Yorkie cross and Eva, a Labrador-Shepherd cross.
“I come home and I opened the back door and Eva ran in fine and I was calling for Phineus and I thought he was rolling in the dirt because I had just gotten his hair cut short for the summer. I go out there and he’s flopping like a fish and my heart stopped,” she said.
Elgert rushed Phineus to the vet and they discovered he had a really high temperature. He was given some anti-seizure medication and had cold packs and cold cloths on him to try to bring down his temperature.
“They sent me across the street to the vet hospital so that when they could get an IV started, someone would be with him all night. They took him back right away and they sent me home to check my backyard to see if he had gotten into anything.”
Elgert went home and once she arrived, she called for her other dog Eva.
“She comes to the top of the stairs and she is foaming at the mouth and her back end is dragging. I quickly grabbed her and loaded her up and took her to the vet too.”
Elgert then returned home to look in her backyard for any sign of what the dogs may have gotten into. “I walked around the backyard and looked in bushes and in my garden. I couldn’t find anything.”
Once back at the vet, they asked Elgert if she had fed her dogs any chicken.
“I said no. I can’t even remember the last time I ate chicken,” she said. “The vet told me they had pumped Phineus’ stomach and it was full of raw chicken and it looks like it was laced with strychnine.”
Eva was in better shape as Elgert got her to the vet extremely quickly before the poison affected her nervous system.
Both dogs stayed overnight at the emergency vet but veterinarians were unable to save Phineus.
“In that moment my heart just stopped again and it was just an emotional breakdown for me and my boy – it was horrible.”
Elgert’s son, Maddox Berezay, 9, had gotten Phineus as a Mother’s Day gift for Elgert four years ago. But it became quickly apparent that Maddox and Phineus would be best friends.
“It wasn’t my dog,” Elgert said with a laugh. “Maddox cried all day on Saturday and then he couldn’t go to sleep that night. He finally fell asleep at about 2:30 a.m. but for the rest of the night he was just screaming in his sleep, calling for Phineus. It was so hard to hear as a mom.”
Elgert has reported the incident to police and is hopeful whoever poisoned Phineus will be found and charged.
“I want to encourage other dog owners to sweep your yard before you even let your dogs out to play or keep an eye on them. Hug them everyday because you never know what could happen,” she said. “I never thought in my wildest dreams that this would happen.”