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Sir, your dog is stoned.

Jennifer Wing
Veterinarian Shepard Thorp, at the Blue Pearl Veterinary Clinic in South Tacoma.

This story originally aired on February 17, 2018.

  If you own a dog, it is terrifying to find your beloved pet unresponsive to the point where they won’t even open their eyes when their name is spoken. About four of these cases come into the Blue Pearl Veterinary Clinic in South Tacoma each week.


“A patient that is lethargic and having a hard time walking.They might just come in and want to lay down. We’ll take their temperature and their temperature will be below normal by a degree or two. And while they’re laying there they may just start urinating on themselves,”  said veterinarian, Shepard Thorp.


These dogs that appear to be at death’s door are not as dire as they sound.These animals are stoned. They’ve all somehow found a source of marijuana, and ingested it. These are “pot dogs.”


According to Thorp, 20 years ago he would see a case like this once in a while. Today, with marijuana being legal and with it coming in the forms of cookies, candies and other treats most dogs find hard to resist, dogs that are in this altered state to some varying degree are carried into the clinic by their owners, several times each week.


So many of these cases come in that treating them has become a pretty important source of revenue for this clinic. Detoxing your dog can cost between $500 and $1,000, which is a good reminder to keep edibles out of reach.


“You wouldn’t want to bring a plate of cookies and put it on the coffee table and not expect the Labrador retriever to get to the cookies,” said Thorp.


Thorp has never lost one of these patients and says the less severe cases recover just fine by riding things out in a dark, quiet space.


Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.