EASTON, Md. — An Eastern Shore family just got a new puppy to add to the family, but that joy quickly subsided.
In 24 hours the family had two dead dogs and no answers.
Just a month ago Sara and her husband Mike got a playmate for Pearl and their three children did not complain. Petey and Pearl connected instantly.
Pearl was almost a year and Petey was just 4 months. The dogs and kids would play in the yard forever, until one day Sara went to get Petey out of his kennel in the morning.
"Diarrhea, urinated, maybe vomit..."
That was unusual, both dogs enjoyed the crate and did not go to the bathroom in there. Sara grabbed Petey and went to a local vet.
"When we got there, we took him right away and that is actually the last time I saw him."
So they went back home to investigate what could have caused it. With blood results back, the vet seemed sure it was poison.
Her husband Mike thought maybe some kind of mushrooms and his intuition was right, the mushrooms were Amanita Phalloides, also known as "death cap" mushrooms. The mushrooms are highly toxic to animals and humans. Mike gathered about 5 lbs of mushrooms in a little wooded area in their fenced in back yard.
"Seven or eight of them were edible and of course one of them was toxic. I'm not eating any of them," he said.
Doctors say there is no antidote for them. They attack the kidneys and other organs and the body shuts down. Their other dog, Pearl died 24 hours later.
Naturally, Mike and Sara felt like they had done something wrong and assumed people would think it was their fault.
"Actually nobody has said that. They said they didn't know either."
Losing two cherished family pets at one time was devastating to the family, but Sara tells us there's a silver lining to this story.
Now everybody is checking their yards for mushrooms and a lot of people have said they found mushrooms. One person said they found that particular mushroom.
"I'd rather just have my puppies but, I am glad to, you know, possible save other animals and other children."
And now that we know about this deadly mushroom, some lives just might be saved.