Beware Of The Silent Killer


"Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Smell No Evil"



Carbon Monoxide is the number one cause of Poisoning Deaths in the United States. Carbon Monoxide, (CO), is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that is present in the exhaust fumes of Oil - or Gasoline - Powered Engines and is also produced by "INEFFICIENT" Burning of Coal, Gas, Oil, or Propane in Home Heating Appliances, so don't think this only happens with Natural Gas. It consists of one carbon atom (chemical symbol C) linked to one oxygen atom (symbol O) and has the chemical formula CO.


Carbon monoxide is poisonous because it binds with Hemoglobin (the oxygen -- carrying molecule in red blood cells) and prevents it from carrying oxygen. As a result, the tissues are deprived of oxygen and asphyxiation occurs. If inhalation of the gas continues, it may lead to Permanent Brain Damage or even DEATH. Many cases of Carbon Monoxide poisoning that have been reported state that the victims are aware they are not well, but become so disoriented that they just can't call for help or are unable to get out of the building.

The initial symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, which are sometimes mistaken for symptoms of food poisoning, are:
1. Dizziness
2. Headache
3. Nausea
4. Faintness
5. Sleepiness or Lethargy, at least in my case.
6. Irregular Breathing - My symptom
7. Confusion - My symptom
8. Loss of Short Term Memory - My Lasting After Effects

The most important step in first - aid treatment is:
1. Take the victim out side into fresh air, continued exposure to the gas will lead to UNCONSCIOUSNESS.
2. If the victim has stopped BREATHING, get Emergency Medical Aid, and give ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION.
3. Even if the victim seems to recover completely when taken into fresh air, it is advisable for him or her to see their Doctor to make sure that there are no long -- term effects. To prevent leaks, have your home's Heating System, Vents, Chimney and Flues inspected and cleaned Yearly by a Qualified Technician
Make sure you install Carbon Monoxide Detectors throughout your home & Kennel especially if you have Natural Gas, Oil, Kerosene or Propane Heaters or a Natural Gas Water Heater, Clothes Dryer, Oven or a Natural Gas Cooking Stove/Range.


Carbon Monoxide & Flammables

Our Devastating Experience With The Silent Killer

In Memory Of Cal-Ore's Elusive Dream

The first week of September 1983 I was still not feeling well enough to raise a litter of puppies and to continue on with the raising, training and showing of any that we would have retained for our future breeding program. When I found out that our Black/Tan girl, Jenny - Cal-Ore's Elusive Dream, was in heat I decided to bring her into our kennel/grooming building that's attached to our home.

She had been kenneled outside with her 2 half brothers at the time and I definitely didn't want either or even both of them to breed her. I had wanted to repeat the breeding, that had resulted in our first Black/Tan Champion, to her Grandfather, Ch. Rinky Dink's Sir Lancelot, at the beginning of the year, but I had been too ill then too. I kept thinking whatever was wrong with me since 1981 would go away and I'd get well. I was having a problem with bleeding ulcers and had been taking Tagamet, which ironically has memory loss as one of it's side affects! My doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. All my tests would come back negative for anything and everything he tested me for except I was very anemic.

The weather had all of a sudden become quite cold so I moved Jenny's pen over near our gas furnace and gas water heater thinking I was doing her a good deed and favor by keeping her where it was warmer. She would be let out several times a day on the leash to go potty by me or by my girls when they would come home from school.

As the days passed on into the second week that Jenny was in heat and penned in the kennel building both she and I would drift into a very deep sleep. I had to set my alarm clock to make sure I would be up to go out and do my chores with the dogs and the horses and to let Jenny out too! If I would sit down or, good grief, I didn't dare to lie down, I couldn't get up again without the alarm going off. I was concerned when Jenny seemed to be sleeping a lot too, but because of the confusion I was experiencing and the loss of memory as to what time I had done something or when I was supposed to do it, I wasn't sure what was happening, so I started making a time table chart so I could check it off, but then I was not even remembering to check off the chart.

Periodically we would smell gas when the heater would go on. My husband would ask if I had called the Gas Company and I would say, "Oh, No! I forgot!" Well, it's too late now to call, I'd say, as by the time he would come home it would be after 7 PM or 10 PM at night.

WRONG! IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO CALL ANYTIME you or anyone else smells or even thinks they smell GAS. CALL THE GAS COMPANY IMMEDIATELY. It is an EMERGENCY and they will come out no matter what time it is or what day it is.

On several occasions Lisa and Monique would come home from school and find me in such a deep sleep on the couch that Lisa thought I had died. What a horrible experience for a 16 year old and a 12 year old child to go through. One time she had to shake me so hard that I fell off the couch before she was able to wake me. We had just bought a wood stove and I was supposed to be bringing in wood and keeping the fire going, but it was becoming too much for me to haul the wood in and to keep awake to tend the fire, so we decided that I would turn the heater on until the girls came home from school then they would turn the heater off and tend the fire plus taking care of the animals. They were going in and out of the house often enough that we think they let all the poison out of the house, so that I would be able to feel stronger and be able to get up and do what I needed to do, until I would go out into the kennel building, where Jenny was, and to try and groom any dog that was ours or a clients. I finally had to quit grooming clients dogs as it was getting too tiring. Thank God I did.

Jenny had been becoming more and more lethargic. I even thought she was dead one time when I went to let her out. I had to carry her outside. She would come around within a few minutes and then she would be OK and so would I be feeling better. I left Jenny in the kennel building for about 4 or 5 days after I thought for sure that she was out of heat. I gave her a bath in the morning and later in the afternoon I put her back outside in the dog run with her half brothers and all seemed fine. She wasn't moving as quickly and as freely as usual, but she seemed OK. She went and laid down in the dog house.

Later in the evening when we went out to feed I put Jenny in her crate, Cinnamon in his and fed Alex in the dog house. When they were done all 3 were running in the dog run, it's 4 foot wide x 16 foot long, and all was fine and quite. My girls and I went out to the barn to feed and bed down the horses for the night. When all of a sudden there was a snarling and barking ruckus going on. I ran back to the dog yard to see what was going on, but by the time I got there all was quiet. Cinnamon was showing his love or lust for Jenny and Alex had his nose bent out of shape because he thought she was His girlfriend. I said in a firm and annoyed tone of voice, "Boy's! NO! Leave Jenny alone she is way out of heat so quit bugging her." All three were standing there looking up at me with tails wagging like crazy. I opened the run door and let them out in the gravel exercise yard until we were through with the horses.

When we came back to put them away for the night the boys were still out in the yard, but Jenny had gone back in the run and was again in the dog house. I went in to see how she was and she was wagging her tail in her Morse code sounds! Thump, thump, stop. Thump, stop. Thump, thump, thump, thump, stop. Thump, thump! I said Jenny you are so funny with your tail sounding like it's sending a message!

I put the boys in the run and told all of them goodnight and to be good. I'd see them in the morning. I closed the gates and headed for the house. My girls had already gone back into the house by then. I was half way to the house when a big TA - do started again.

The boys were so into it so bad that they were standing on their hind legs, like 2 stallions, snarling and tearing at each others faces. They also had knocked down Jenny and were stomping all over her too in their desire to annihilate each other. I was screaming at them, but they were not listening, so I slammed my hand against the wall of the dog run, which is made with metal siding, it made a horrendous bang, crashing sound plus I was yelling, Alex, Cinnamon, knock it off. Bad, bad boys.

"Oh, look at what you two have done to each other, you're bleeding! Oh, my gosh! What have you done to Jenny?" Jenny was laying on the ground not moving. I grabbed Cinnamon checked his face to see how bad he was. He seemed OK. I put him in his crate. I then had to drag Alex out of his dog house because he knew I was mad and that he had done a real bad thing, so he wouldn't come to me. He too looked OK.

I had to find out what was wrong with Jenny. She was trying to stand up, but for some reason she couldn't. I scooped her up into my arms and out of the run I went, slamming shut the gate behind me with my foot. She was getting so heavy and her head was sliding off my arms and just flopping. I almost dropped her before I got out of the exercise yard. She was getting heavier. I was yelling at her. Jenny, Jenny! I could feel her tail wagging on my hip. I knew she was still alive, but she couldn't lift her head.

By this time I was almost to the house. I was screaming Lisa, Lisa. Lisa was opening the back door just as I was trying to crash through, I almost knocked her down. I'm yelling at her to clear everything off the grooming table so I can lay Jenny down. She's yelling at me,"What happened? What's wrong with Jenny?" "I don't know I'm yelling at the top of my lungs. The boys were fighting and stomping all over her. I don't know what they did to her. Watch her. I'm going to call the Vet." The answering machine gave the New Emergency Clinic phone number. Thank goodness I had just driven by it a few days before, so I knew where it was.

Hurry, I told Lisa, get a towel and wrap her up in it, they're waiting for us to bring her in. We left Monique home as her father had just come in as we were leaving. He's saying, "What's wrong?" "Where are you going with the dog?" "What's the matter?"

"To the Emergency Vet Clinic." "I don't know what's wrong." I'm yelling to him as we're rushing past him going out to the truck. We dropped down the bench seat in the back of my truck and laid Jenny down on it so she could stretch her body all the way out. Lisa got in with her. I jumped into the driver seat and tore out of the driveway. It took us 25 minutes to get to the Emergency Clinic. By the time we got into the driveway Jenny was breathing heavily. Lisa is saying, Mom she's not breathing now! I'm shaking her gently, but firmly and calling her. Jenny, Jenny. I hear thump, thump. It's her tail against the seat. She's still with us. Hurry hand her to me. I take Jenny in my arms and try and drape the towel back over her so she isn't cold.

I lean against the glass door, but it doesn't open. Lisa comes behind me and pulls it open towards us. We're in, we're here, everything will be OK. A young man comes out. We tell him who we are and that we had just called. Oh, yes he say's, just a minute the doctor will be with you. OK, we both say. We wait.

I'm standing there holding Jenny who is beginning to get very heavy again. Her head is starting to droop. Lisa say's, "Where is the Vet?" I don't know I said. "Hello! I holler, we need the Vet out here." In a few minutes the young man comes out again. It'll be just a minute more. "I don't think we have a minute more, I said." Just then the Vet comes out. She say's come in here & put him up on the table. He's a she I said. As I put Jenny on the table she starts expelling pink frothy foam out of her mouth. How long has she been like this? I said this just happened and we'd been here for at least 10 minutes. "Oh, my gosh!" the Vet say's, "Why didn't you say it was an emergency? Well, I called and told whoever what was happening and that I needed to bring her in now.

How long has she been jaundiced? I didn't know I said. I didn't know what jaundiced was or meant. She said the whites of her eyes are yellow. How long have they been like that? I hadn't noticed her eyes like that. They were fine earlier this morning when I gave her a bath.

Where has she been? What has she eaten? How can she be like this when she is in such good flesh and such beautiful coat? Her symptom's are like she's experiencing a massive poisoning, but what?

"What does good flesh mean?" I said. Oh, you mean up on weight. Yes, she is in show coat we were thinking of showing her or going for her Obedience degree as soon as I get well. Then we wanted to breed her for the last time.

I put my hand on Jenny's side and slowly ran it down to her stifle, her tail is quiet. I lean down and call Jenny she tries to lift her head. Hang in there baby. She has more pink foam coming out of her mouth. The Vet is desperately trying to listen to her heart and take her pulse. I reach over to wipe Jenny's mouth she looks at me out of the corner of her eye. Her tail slowly wags. Lisa asks if she will be all right.

The Vet tells the young man to get something to suck the fluid out of Jenny's mouth. This can't be happening the Vet says as she takes blood from Jenny's neck. She hands the vile of blood to the young man and takes the suction device from him.

It's too late I say. Our sweet darling Jenny has already died. It's too late. The Vet is listening to her heart and trying to find a pulse. Yes, she say's you're right she is gone.

She wanted to do an autopsy on her if I agreed. We did. She couldn't find a thing wrong or any reason why Jenny died the way she did.

It wasn't until October 1984, after I had to be rushed to the hospital Emergency Room and again they couldn't find anything wrong with me, when the Gas man came and inspected our Natural Gas Furnace and found that it was faulty and was leaking Carbon Monoxide did we put it all together. The Gas man said Jenny had probably died from the Carbon Monoxide fumes as she had been penned next to the heater. We also found 3 or 4 small leaks in the pipe that leads from the gas meter into the furnace and the gas water heater, so we were not only getting asphyxiated from the Carbon Monoxide fumes, but from the gas too.

Carbon Monoxide is not detected in the body, so it is very hard to diagnose a reason for death unless one knows for sure that the poisonous fumes have been present and inhaled.


My Own Personal Dangerous Experience With The Silent Killer

"See how confused one becomes and what stupid things one may do under the influence of Carbon Monoxide, if one is so lucky to survive. I would never have done the following if I had not been so messed up in my thinking abilities."

In the second week of October 1984 I finally was coherent enough to again call the Gas Company to come out and check our Natural Gas Forced Furnace as it was again producing black carbon particles and dust, which was shutting off the pilot light to our heater.

When the Gas man came he said that there was definitely something wrong here. He asked me if he could tear into the heater so he could examine it closer. Of course what ever you have to do to find out why the pilot light keeps going out I said. I thought the wind keeps blowing it out, but it goes out even when there is no wind. I'm really getting tired of coming out here and opening up the door to the outside and coming back over here to the heater and taking newspapers and fanning the air, even though most of the time I could not smell gas, once in a great while I could smell it. Then I would strike a match and re-light the pilot light

He is standing there, with his eyes practically bugging out of his head, looking at me in shear horror! Oh, my Gosh! he said, No, No, No don't ever, ever do that! Lady, you could have BLOWN yourself to Kingdom come! Don't ever, ever strike a match, especially if you smell gas!! You need to call the Gas Company no matter what time or day it is and we'll send someone out IMMEDIATELY to fix it.

Well, I didn't think that you would come out before or after business hours, so that is why I hadn't called before also I kept forgetting to call. How long has this been going on? I think I've been out here a number of times in the last 2 or 3 years to clean this unit, he said. A long time, so long I'm not sure. Is that why you look so familiar, because you've been here before?

By this time he has not only taken the front off the heater he is unscrewing another panel and exclaiming, "Oh, my Gosh! No wonder there is so much black ash look at this, as he is pointing at a pile of ashes. I'm peering into the heater and saying, "Is that bad?" Duh! (Can you see a pattern here of not quite knowing what normally my common sense would have told me that, "Yes, something was not quite right here and hadn't been for a long time!)

Is that bad? He says, Well it's not good. I need to get into here a little more, so it's going to take me a little longer than I thought. How long is long? He said about 20 to 30 minutes, so I went back into the house.

It seemed like just a few moments had passed when there was an incessant knocking on the door and Mrs. Ray, Mrs. Ray!! He was calling urgently. I opened the door and he is standing there saying, "We have to shut this heater down NOW!" I said, "OK, I'll go turn it off at the wall switch." No, No he says I mean shut it down, the whole thing, so you can't use it anymore.

"What do you mean we can't use it anymore?" "Today or for a few days until it's fixed?" That's OK, we have a wood stove. We can use it to heat with for a few days. In November 1981 when we had a real bad wind storm we were without electricity for 6 days. Thank goodness we had just purchased our wood stove and had brought in enough wood for the winter.

Even though one has a Natural Gas furnace you still need electricity to run the fan to blow the heat into your house. This I did not know until I went to turn the heater on and nothing happened! You know one never thinks about these things as we take our everyday comforts for granite, until we flip a switch and it doesn't work! Now back to my story of our old faulty heater!

The Gas man is shaking his head. Oh, no you will have to purchase a brand new furnace! By law I have to put this sticker on the furnace and shut it off! You have a crack in the Heat Exchanger, (a device for transferring the heat of one substance to another, as from the exhaust gasses to the incoming air in a furnace), about a half inch wide by 2 inches long! This is really bad as the crack is not only causing the heater to mal function it is allowing Carbon Monoxide fumes to be emitted into the air. You do know he says to me that you can't smell, see or hear Carbon Monoxide? Natural gas too has no odor, we at the Gas Company add an odor to the gas, so that if there is a leak one can smell it and then report the problem.

Carbon Monoxide poison has been coming out of the crack? How long do you think this has been happening? I asked him. Well, from the size of this crack it's been a long time, like a few years.

As he's saying this my mind is racing back to September of last year 1983. Oh, I said then that is how our beautiful Black/Tan brood bitch, Jenny died. We had her penned up near the heater. The Veterinarian autopsy couldn't find any reason as to how she died, but the Vet said she felt that Jenny had died from some type of massive poisoning. If this was the reason wouldn't it have shown up in the autopsy?

No, Carbon Monoxide doesn't show up in an autopsy. This is more than likely why she died and I'm sure your reason for being so ill and confused for so long, especially during the winter when you would turn the heater on. If you've been having a problem with your memory this too is one of the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. It's a miracle your other family members haven't had a problem too, but with you being the only one home basically twenty-four hours a day you and the dogs would be the ones getting asphyxiated. I'll come back after you purchase and install your new heater and turn it on for you and give it a complete and thorough going over.

I signed all his papers he had for me to sign and made the comment that I guess I actually killed my dog by not calling the Gas Company sooner. Oh, no you must not think that way, he said. You were being asphyxiated too and because the Carbon Monoxide confuses your thinking you can't let yourself feel responsible for your dogs death.

My husband, Fred, wasn't thrilled when I called him at work to tell him that the Gas man had shut off our heater and said we had to buy a new one. This wasn't what we had wanted to hear as furnaces aren't cheap! This however, of course, was a must, so finally in January of 1985 we had our new Natural Gas Furnace installed, so far all is fine.

I make a point to have our Gas Furnace checked every year and the filters washed or changed every year. If your gas furnace is older than 5 years old you MUST have it checked and serviced by the Gas Company for you and your families protection. By all means install Carbon Monoxide Detector's so if there is a problem the detector will alert you very early on as this problem can go on and on for years with devastating consequences. The crack in the Heat Exchanger cannot be discovered without your furnace being taken apart by a qualified inspector.


Copyright © 1999-2004 CAL-ORE COCKERS
Nancy L. Ray and Lisa L. Ray
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