Last column ended with a brief introduction to our new puppy, Sadie.
Right away we started on her training. Even at seven weeks, a puppy is not too young to learn right from wrong provided it is done properly.
Of course, at the top of the list is getting the house-training underway. At this young age, there are bound to be accidents.
But in a short time, they are occurring infrequently as she has progressed to standing in front of the door to go outside, punctuated by the occasional bark. Sometimes.
While progress is positive in the peeing department, the teething process is taking a lot longer. We carry the marks as evidence.
Sadie has learned the word “no” very effectively and will usually stop biting us, chewing the wood for the woodstove, the chair legs, the antique table legs, the bricks on the hearth and our plants.
But that only lasts for as long as you can say “good girl” before she gets that imp look in her eyes and starts terrorizing again.
Perseverance and due diligence on our part remains heightened. Not only to keep tiny teeth marks from marring the furniture but to keep our puppy out of harms way from toxic plants.
Understandably, there are many people who refuse to include any toxic plants in their gardens. They are justified. It is all part of keeping kids and pets safe.
However, I wonder if they have an apple tree in their yard? The stems, leaves and seeds contain cyanide. Kids might not eat them but your dog might.
Have daffodils? The bulbs are very toxic. Eat enough of them can result in convulsions and cardiac arrhythmias.
Even the leaves, bark, berries and roots of our native elderberry are toxic and they are quite prevalent along our rural roads here in Black Creek.
Digitalis purpurea (foxglove), delphiniums, rhododendrons and azaleas if ingested in sufficient quantities can all cause death to both dogs and cats. So can sweet peas.
We have a golden hops on our pergola for the wonderful shade it provides. Would you be surprised the flowers that add such a delightful flavour to your beer can also cause seizures and death to your pet?
Those beautiful autumn crocuses blooming in late summer can cause multiple organ damage to Sadie if she should happen to eat them for a snack. (She should be cured of eating plants by the time these are blooming again. We hope.)
Leaves, stems and seeds of cherry, apricot and peach trees can all send your pet into shock from the cyanide they contain. Death could be imminent.
And do not be fooled. Your vegetable garden also holds hidden dangers for your pets.
Rhubarb can cause kidney failure. Tomatoes can produce a whole range of symptoms including slow heart rate. So can other members of the nightshade family … eggplant, potatoes and peppers.
There are still more plants in the garden which will not necessarily kill your pet or child but are equally dangerous for causing vomiting and diarrhoea. Plants like chamomile, English ivy, hellebores, gladiolas, calla lilies, primulas, baby’s breath, tulips and peonies.
Keeping your pet indoors does not keep them safe … if you have houseplants. Dieffenbachia, cut-leaf philodendron, Rex begonia, jade plant and amaryllis have toxic parts. And there are others.
My point … the list of plants with at least some toxic parts is long. Very long. So do you not think it best to educate your kids between good and bad? Same with your dog. They can definitely be trained to leave your plants alone.
Cats are a different story, however, so you would be advised not to grow any lilies in your garden.
For a list of other toxic plants, check out www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants and www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/index.html.
Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at www.duchessofdirt.ca and her column appears every second Thursday in the Record.