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A leisurely Sunday dog walk turned into a nightmare for West Sider Layla Law-Gisiko after her pup accidentally ingested cannabis-filled detritus from the sidewalk. 

Milou about town. Photo supplied by Layla Law-Gisiko

Law-Gisiko had taken 50-pound Australian Bernedoodle Milou for their regular afternoon Midtown walk: “We didn’t notice that he had picked anything up from the sidewalk,” she said. An hour later, when the dog began to twitch and vomit violently, she knew something was wrong. “His hind legs collapsed under him and he couldn’t walk — it was very sudden.”

After speaking with their vet, Dr Kalvig and Shorter Veterinary Associates, Law-Gisiko and Milou were sent to the 24/7 services at Chelsea’s Veterinary Emergency Group. “We managed to carry him there and he just passed out,” she said. Milou’s blood work came back positive for cannabis, which the vet said was consistent with the onset of his symptoms. 

Luckily for the worried pet owner, Milou hadn’t ingested a large enough quantity to determine further treatment — and the vets decided that the best medicine for him was the chance to sober up. “They told us he’d be better off at home, and let us carry him back out,” said Law-Gisiko. It took Milou several days to get back to his usual energy levels. “While he was able to do his vital functions on Monday, It took him from Sunday until Tuesday to regain his normal routine,”  she said.

Layla Law-Gisiko with her dog Milou. Photo supplied

While she was relieved at Milou’s full recovery, the incident alerted Law-Gisiko to the risk of her pup picking up more than just a contact high. “The vet said it’s a pup-idemic,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “They told me that this is becoming increasingly common,” she told W42ST. “They treat dozens of dogs with the same symptoms.” 

Recent research from Cornell University shows that CBD — otherwise known as cannabidiol — can have a positive therapeutic impact on dogs, but research on THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is far more troubling. Researchers in Colorado found “a positive correlation between the increased number of cases of marijuana toxicosis in dogs and the increased number of medical marijuana licenses issued.” In the Colorado study, two dogs that consumed baked goods that included butter with concentrated medical grade THC died. 

As the city’s legal cannabis dispensary licenses come online, Law-Gisiko — who ran for the 75th District Assembly seat against Tony Simone this June — believes there will be a need to regulate its use safely. “I think that legalizing our cannabis consumption is probably a good idea,” she said, “but at the same time, I think we’re going to have some key, unintended consequences that we’ll need to handle.”  

She added: “This is our home, and we walk these sidewalks all the time — our sidewalks are littered with this kind of stuff. Once we have a little more data, I think we will need legislation.” 

For now, she is warning other pet owners to be “super vigilant and careful” when out with pets for a walk among the many unidentified “treats” bound to pique their curiosity: “What a scare!” 

And as for Milou? He posted on his personal Instagram: “To all the pups who walk city streets, especially where marijuana is legal, be super careful because it’s littering our sidewalks and we are getting super sick.”

Layla Law-Gisiko’s dog Milou takes a nap after coming home from the vet. Photo supplied

Join the Conversation

10 Comments

    1. See so many people engrossed in their phone while walking their dogs. Obvious to anyone watching that the dogs are sniffing and poking and ingesting all the crap off the street!!! PLEASE PLEASE GET OFF THE PHONE AND WATCH YOUR DOG!!

    2. You obviously don’t have a dog, otherwise you’d know that it’s impossible to prevent this from happening 100% of the times. It only takes 1 second for the dog walker to look away – maybe turn your head to check for traffic when crossing the street and your pooch could pick something up right then.

  1. Like wearing a mask to help protect against viruses, dogs should now wear those muzzle covers to prevent them eating stuff on the street.
    Have a dog, take responsibility….and clean up the poop! (Put in trash, not NEXT to it!

  2. This is a bit sensationalist 😂 Dogs get sick all the time from trash — this one just got a little high. The headline should be, “Unobservant dog owner allows dog to get sick from eating trash.” It smells a little Karen-ish if you ask me!

  3. Legalization of pot–not a very bright idea. Its a gateway to the more dangerous drugs. Walking the dog now has now become problematic with this weed stuff on the city’s streets, along with other hazards. Walking your dog is like walking with a small child. You have to be constantly aware of what’s going on.

  4. A dog got sick from eating a chicken wing bone. BAN ALL CHICKEN PLACES!! That’s how some of you sound 😂

  5. Love it, Carlos!! The streets are not lined with pot! This hysteria!! I am grateful that it is finally legal. We were arresting people for pot!!! Only people of color, of course. White kids, for pot, a call to their parents. I would be much more inclined to be concerned about guns on the street.

  6. If dog owners walked their dogs correctly as Barbara Woodhouse taught ( find her on her old TVshow ) then dogs would stay healthy,she didn’t allow constant sniffing of filthy walls, posts etc. and you would be healthier too because you wouldn’t have a free hand to hold a phone it would be beneficial to me also because you would cease walking into me !

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