THOMPSON PARK — On a public trail on Homestake Pass, a Butte woman and her dogs were out enjoying a perfect day that soon turned into a nightmare after one of her animals ingested THC while out on the hike.
"I came about Rocky through just checking where dogs are and who needs help and he showed up in Helena," says Gina Evans.
Two weeks ago Evans rescued Rocky, an energetic golden lab, after he was abandoned by his former family. The seven-year-old lab was welcomed into the family by Angelo, Evans' other seven-year-old lab.
"He’s had a rough life like any shelter dog usually and I want to give the best years possible," says Evans.
And what’s more exciting for a dog than a walk through the woods with his owner?
"Locally we have the best trail system around and I want to make sure he sees the world like Angelo and my former dog Finway," says Evans.
But while walking along the Continental Divide Trail near Butte, Gina’s new furry family member came across a dangerous situation.
"More than likely he gobbled something up. It could’ve been an edible, it could’ve been powder even ash, I learned from the vet can be very, very sickening to a dog," says Evans.
"For those that are involved with THC, which I’m not, please be responsible with what you are doing out there. There’s people that are taking their dogs, their kids out-and-about on our trails and we don’t need it hanging out on our trails.."
Unbeknownst to Gina her new dog had eaten pot and upon returning home she chalked up his lethargy to overexertion on the long hike but as time passed he developed more symptoms.
"I came back to a puddle of urine throughout Rocky’s bed, his head was bobbing, he couldn’t stand up his legs were not underneath him and he was chattering his teeth very, very quickly. I mean he looked like... I thought he had a seizure. I was not sure," says Evans.
A blood test revealed Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC in Rocky’s system which causes serious reactions in animals but is rarely fatal. Even so, Evans had to leave Rocky overnight at the animal hospital.
"When I left him, how he looked, I didn’t know. I thought I was losing another dog which was sad but he’s here and stoked to be out in the world and I'm just happy to have a happy pup."
Rocky pulled through to see another trail but the experience was emotionally difficult for Gina and costly. Luckily she received several generous donations to cover the cost but she estimates the bill could have been easily over $500.
And she has a request for anyone who uses marijuana while out recreating on public lands.
"For those that are involved with THC, which I’m not, please be responsible with what you are doing out there. There’s people that are taking their dogs, their kids out-and-about on our trails and we don’t need it hanging out on our trails," says Evans.