“I had gone home for the weekend to my parents who lived in a small country town about 47 miles from Hobart. Dad had gone to the races as he usually did on Saturdays. He had a little Australian Terrier, Toby, and he absolutely loved his little dog as much as he did Mum and I. This happened many years ago, but the memory has stayed with me as though it were yesterday.
Dad had obtained some 1080 poison from the local Agricultural Inspector (as they were called back then) because he suspected there was a rat underneath the house. He planted the bait and blocked the hole to make sure nothing else could get at the bait.
He was late getting home. Mum and I were still up watching TV. The back door was open as it usually was so Toby and the cats could just come and go. Then we heard the most horrible screaming coming from outside… we rushed out and little Toby was running around the yard, screaming in utter agony. He would run right past us and into the house, run around again, continuing to scream and howl in terror. We couldn’t catch him… He would collapse to the ground, his little body going into violent spasms and convulsions, all the time making those same agonising noises.
Mum and I both knew it had to be the 1080. There was no vet in our town, and we knew it wouldn’t have made any difference anyway… Toby was dying, and nothing would or could change that.
Toby’s agonising suffering continued for over an hour. Towards the last stage, I was able to sit with him and comfort him (I hope).
I hoped he knew he was loved.
When Dad came home, he knew straight away that something was really wrong. I had only ever seen Dad cry twice: that night and when his mother died. He found the dead rat the next day laying near another gap under the house that he didn’t know about. That was how the rat had gotten out and had dropped the bait that Toby ate.
I was a registered nurse at the time and I have seen many terrible deaths… but nothing has compared to Toby’s.
I know that is what is happening to many of our beautiful animals every day.