Reporting Liz Collin
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities family lost their dog to a danger they never suspected. The Grummons are still grieving for Neela, their 2-year-old lab.
She suffocated this summer when her head got stuck in a treat bag.
Now, they are sharing their story in hopes of saving other animals.
“I went a saw her, and looked in those big brown eyes and scooped her up and took her home,” said Bobbie Grummon.
For two years she was an important member of their young family.
“She was a jungle gym,” Nate said.
Neela grew up alongside their girls, became a hunting buddy for Nathan, and a companion for all — with that huge smile.
But, a night out to run errands this summer left a hole in the Grummons family that will never be filled.
“When we walked out of the house she was a healthy, happy 70-pound lab,” Nate said.
Two hours later, they discovered something they never expected.
“I put my things on the counter, come into the living room and I see her lying on the floor with a Beggin Strips bag around her head,” Bobbie said.
“The moment I walked in here and saw her, I knew she was long gone,” Nate added.
A vet told Bobbie and Nate it probably took less than a minute for Neela to suffocate.
“It’s tough to lose a friend like that cuz you don’t know…if you’ll ever get something like that back again,” Nate said.
Their pain has given the Grummons a new purpose – to protect other families from feeling the same thing.
“Moving forward I just need to warn everyone I possibly can,” Bobbie said.
While Dr. Kelly Hall, a veterinarian at the U of M Vet Center hasn’t seen a suffocation case like this before, she says any plastic bag poses a risk, especially if it’s so small dogs can’t shake it off.
“One of the most common things we see on emergency is dogs that have gotten into garbage and the consequences from that,” she said.
She says the best advice is to cut open the bottom of any bag before throwing it out.
But, there is a growing movement online to do more.
A Texas woman launched a Facebook page asking Frito-Lay, the largest snack company in the world, to put a warning label on its bags and produce a commercial that details the danger.
Her dog died last year after getting stuck in a Cheetos bag.
The Grummons are doing things differently — keeping bags off the counter and cut up in the garbage.
“Anything that a dog can get into just take that extra step, put it away so this doesn’t have to happen to anyone else,” Bobbie said.
They’re thinking about their new dog now. They brought home Jasmine a few weeks ago. But, they will continue to spread their message to save other families from having to part with their pet for no good reason.
A spokesperson from Frito-Lay said they are aware of the request to put warning labels on bags, but they haven’t made a decision on doing so.
To find out more about the campaign to protect pets from plastic bags you’ll find a link here.