In April of 2019, I flew down to Florida to spend time with Anna and photograph her,  Momo and Einstein. Before I’d left Montreal, she connected me with her best friend Brooke to set up a session while I was down there. Brooke has a two year old Alaskan Klee Kai named Freyja who looks like a miniature husky.

This is their story.

The end of 2017 was really rough. It was probably the hardest time in my life. It was a time when I couldn’t get out of bed for three to four days in a week. In a big effort to try to fix me, my husband said we could get a dog.

After extensive research, Brooke knew she wanted an Alaskan Klee Kai. Alaskan Klee Kai’s are part husky but much smaller so she wanted to make sure bringing the breed to Florida would be okay for Freyja.

So it was 2 o’clock in the morning and I was scrolling puppy finder; it’s like tinder for dogs, and I landed on her. I just had this pull… I knew she was mine.

She arrived on January 9th by plane. As soon as I saw her I knew, “Oh my gosh! That’s the missing piece.” It took all of 72 hours before she started gluing all my broken pieces together again.

I’m a friendlier, happier person because of Freyja.

The day before I was to go photograph Brooke and Freyja, Anna came running out to the back yard where I was working by the pool with Einstein, to tell me that something awful had happened. Freyja had come in contact with a bufo toad and was at the emergency vet.

Bufo toads are extremely poisonous and unfortunately very common in south Florida. These toads have huge glands just behind their eyes and if a dog, or other animal, comes in contact with them they will secrete a neurotoxin from these glands that is lethal.

We let Freyja outside in the back yard at about 9:30 am. Some time between 10 am and 10:30 am is when she found the bufo toad and got poisoned.

Our cat, Loki, saved the dog’s life: He was just pacing the house, bellowing. I remember even being angry about his yowling, I said ‘Jesus Loki, do you need to go outside too?’ When I looked outside, I saw Freyja laying on the patio, her tail facing the door and she had diarrhea all over her. I went out and I leaned over her and realized she was having a seizure. That’s when I freaked out and all hell broke loose!

I don’t even know how we made it out of the house, it took us less than 4 minutes from the time I put her into a towel, into our car and out of our driveway. It was all a chaotic blur.

There needs to be an ambulance service for pets. Every minute that we were stuck in traffic, she was dying. I was driving 90 plus, blaring on my horn, and screaming out the window at people in front of us that my dog was dying. I somehow had the wherewithal, to call the emergency vet and tell them that we were on our way.

After she’d been admitted, the vet came back out to ask me if I knew if she’d ingested any of the fluids or flesh of the toad. If she had ingested the flesh and she was digesting it, it would flood her system with the poison. They told me that had she ingested any of the toad, they would not have been able to stop the seizures.

If the cat hadn’t been making so much noise, and been so aggravating, I don’t know how much time would have gone by before I’d have seen Freyja on the patio. From the way the vet was talking, seconds matter, she could have died. Everything that happens to a human when they have a seizure was happening to her but was so much worse because she’s got this teeny tiny little body.

That day was the closest I’ve ever been to losing a child. I have two human children, and the same response that I would have had if I’d found one of them unresponsive, is the exact same feeling that I had when I found Freyja. I don’t know what I would have done if they’d have said she wasn’t coming home.

Freyja celebrated her second birthday on November 11th of 2019 and is happy and healthy: As though this horrible incident had never happened. Even when I went to do their session the day after it happened, we took Freyja to Starbucks for a puppaccino to spoil her and Brooke told me:

She has the memory of a goldfish, this all happened 24 hours ago and Freyja’s like; ‘I don’t know what’s wrong. Why are y’all so sad.’ She doesn’t remember any of it. She’s back to living her best life.

Brooke, it was so wonderful to meet you and your family. I feel so honoured that after experiencing one of the scariest days of your life, you welcomed me into your home to tell your story. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!