Coast pet owner's warning after sudden, devastating loss
JOSH Stewart often took his three-year-old American bulldog Dozer to the Noosa River for a walk along the shore, but Friday's visit together would be their last.
It took less than two hours for the poison of a toadfish to spread through Dozer's huge 60kg body and kill him; leaving Mr Stewart in shock over the loss of his best friend.
"It was literally like every other day, we walked down to the river and Dozer was about 10m in front of me," Mr Stewart said.
"He went up on the fluffier sand away from the shore and started digging around with his nose.
"I started running realising he was about to eat whatever it was but when he saw me coming he obviously chomped it down."
Mr Stewart said within 30 minutes Dozer fell terribly sick.
"I saw what he had eaten after he vomited for the first time. Two small toadfish," Mr Stewart said.
"I started to panic and he wouldn't stop vomiting so I rushed him to the Noosa District Animal Hospital.
"The vets took him and I needed to rush home to grab a few things to get ready to bring him home."
But the look on the vet's face when Mr Stewart arrived back at the hospital turned his stomach.
"They told me Dozer had died," he said.
Dozer's heart stopped beating within 50 minutes of eating the toadfish.
Toadfish contain tetrodotoxin, which is fast acting when ingested and is debilitating.
It is 1200 more times poisonous than cyanide.
"It all happened so quick, especially for such a big healthy dog. I honestly thought he would be okay," Mr Stewart said, who now wants to warn people about the dangers of leaving discarded fish behind.
"He really was my best mate, we went everywhere together...and I don't blame anyone I'm not angry.
"But I hope now people will be more aware, and if anyone comes across one discarded on the shore, then I hope they would remove it."
Mr Stewart said he wanted to thank the staff at the vet hospital.
"They did everything they could, they didn't even know Dozer but I could tell they were upset about it.
"They sent me flowers the next day, and I appreciated that."