WASHOUGAL — Nikki Mael wanted to give her dogs a treat.
It was New Year’s Eve, and one of her dogs, Tinkerbell, had just had surgery to remove a cyst from her bladder, so Mael, 43, of Washougal went to the pet store and bought them Evanger’s Hunk of Beef dog food. Within 15 minutes of eating the food, her four pugs — Tinkerbell, 3, Tank, 10, Tito, 2, and Talula, 12 — and her daughter’s dog, Pedro, 10, started acting odd, Mael said.
The dogs were walking around like they were drunk, Mael said, bumping into things. Mael scooped the dogs up and put them in the car. They were breathing but otherwise unresponsive, she said. She took them to Columbia River Veterinary Specialists at around 8 p.m. and stayed there until 10 a.m. the following morning. She left to grab some things from home, but when she returned the doctor told her there was no hope for Talula, and they had to put her down.
“She was the boss,” Mael said of Talula. “She made sure everybody was OK. She was the leader of the pack. I think they miss her. They walk around the house looking for her.”
The other four dogs are home now and back to their energetic selves, jumping up to greet visitors and climbing over Mael while she sits on the couch. Tito had multiple seizures after eating the food and is still on seizure medication, Mael said.