Sale mum says family dog saved son’s life

A SALE mother believes the family’s pet dog Barney saved her three-year-old boy’s life, by eating a cocktail of vitamin and iron tablets.

Jessica Kerr is warning parents and pet owners to take care when storing over the counter vitamins following the death of Barney, after he was fed tablets on Friday by her three-year-old son Oliver, who also consumed some of them.

The adventurous three-year-old had found the collection of vitamin D and women’s iron tablets and men’s night multivitamin supplements and led them to the family’s 10-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel-Maltese cross, thinking they were food.

The boy was rushed to Central Gippsland Health Service’s emergency department that night when he started to bring up a thick, foamy vomit, and the dog was taken to a veterinary clinic the following day when he was unable to lift his head.

Initially both appeared fine, symptoms not apparent until hours after the pills had been consumed.

Jessica spent Friday night at the hospital with Oliver where he was monitored to ensure he hadn’t consumed high levels of iron.

Visual imaging texts revealed iron in his system had already started to dissolve.

When she returned home on Saturday, Jessica said she believed Barney too was on the mend, despite the way he slipped and stumbled across the tiled floor, as the severity of the shaking he presented with the night before had lessened.

Yet after dinner the dog’s condition deteriorated, and he became so weak he couldn’t lift his head.

“I had to lift it for him, it was wobbling like a bobble-head toy,” Jessica said, tears welling in her eyes for the much-loved pet.

The Kerrs rushed Barney to a veterinary clinic where he was put on a drip, as they tried to flush out his kidneys and liver.

The dog spent the night at the veterinary clinic but was unable to recover from the damage the tablets had caused to his pancreas.

He died on Sunday morning with Jessica and Oliver by his side.

“I patted him and said thank you for saving Oliver and gave him lots of pats and cuddles,” Jessica said, convinced the dog deliberately ate the majority of the tablets to save her son.

“He saved Oliver’s life,” she said.

“We don’t blame Oliver,” Jessica said, saying the three-year-old had the habit and the ability to get into anything.

“It’s not something you’d think would cause so much damage, vitamins.

“Not one had a childproof lid,” she said.

“If it is toxic to pets and children why don’t they have safer lids?” she asked, “how can they sell them?”.

Still struggling to understand the concept of death, Jessica said Oliver often wondered where the dog was.

“He gets why Barney isn’t here anymore, but doesn’t understand why he can’t see him and feed biscuits to him,” Jessica said.

“Barney’s gone,” Oliver said trying to explain the situation, “I hurt Barney. I fed Barney the tablets.”

“Barney is in here,” he added, pointing to his stomach, but meaning his heart.

At the time of the incident Jessica was completing preparation work for the family’s new kitchen due to be installed at the end of the week, which, coincidentally, will contain cabinets appropriate for storing tablets out of the reach of children.