What pet parents can learn from Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's tragic Instagram post

If you follow Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson on Instagram, you probably saw his sad update about his puppy Brutus.

Brutus, whom Johnson introduced to his fans just a few short weeks ago, ate a poisonous mushroom and, unfortunately, had to be put down.

Another reminder we have to live and love as greatly as we can today, because tomorrow is never guaranteed. At approximately 11:15pm last night myself and @laurenhashianofficial had to make the painful decision to end Brutus' suffering by taking him off of life support and sending his soul to pup heaven. I held his lil' paw as he was finally at peace. As all puppies and dogs do, he ate a mushroom while playing outside with his brother Hobbs. This mushroom happened to have a lethal toxicity and within hours it was rapidly destroying his liver and immune system to the point of no return. I encourage all of you out there to be mindful of mushrooms in your yards, parks or anywhere outside your dogs play. What looks innocent, can be deadly to your lil' family members. Thank you Dr. Deckelbaum and Dr. West and the incredibly caring nurses and staff at The Animal Medical Center At Cooper City. We'll always love you Brutus.. and you'll always be my lil' main man and rough housing Brute. #RIPBrutus #WICHSYOMT
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on


The photo caption reads:


"Another reminder we have to live and love as greatly as we can today, because tomorrow is never guaranteed.
At approximately 11:15pm last night myself and @laurenhashianofficial had to make the painful decision to end Brutus' suffering by taking him off of life support and sending his soul to pup heaven. I held his lil' paw as he was finally at peace.
As all puppies and dogs do, he ate a mushroom while playing outside with his brother Hobbs. This mushroom happened to have a lethal toxicity and within hours it was rapidly destroying his liver and immune system to the point of no return.
I encourage all of you out there to be mindful of mushrooms in your yards, parks or anywhere outside your dogs play. What looks innocent, can be deadly to your lil' family members.
Thank you Dr. Deckelbaum and Dr. West and the incredibly caring nurses and staff at The Animal Medical Center At Cooper City.
We'll always love you Brutus.. and you'll always be my lil' main man and rough housing Brute.
#RIPBrutus #WICHSYOMT"





Johnson's story is heartbreaking, but sadly, it's not uncommon.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, their Animal Poison Control Center handled over 167,000 cases in 2014. About 13% of those cases involved human foods or plants.

It's important to be aware of the food and plants around your home that may have lethal consequences for your furry friends.

Here are 10 to watch out for:

1. Chocolate

Let's start with Dog Care 101. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, two ingredients that can cause vomiting, seizures, and death in dogs. As Halloween approaches, make sure to keep your candy out of paws' reach.

2. Sago Palms

Photo by Tatters/Flickr.

This popular plant kept indoors and out is highly dangerous to pets. The entire plant is poisonous, but just one seed can result in liver failure.

3. Raw Bread Dough

A dog's or cat's stomach is the perfect warm environment for yeast to multiply, which can cause the stomach to expand and restrict blood flow. All that yeast also produces alcohol, so your pet may suffer from alcohol poisoning.

4. Hops

Photo by iStock.

Speaking of alcohol, home brewers take note: These fragrant plants can cause a dog's temperature to climb to dangerous levels. And they're not great for cats either.

5. Macadamia Nuts

As few as six raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog ill. Within 12 hours of eating the nuts, your dog may experience muscle weakness, vomiting, and a rapid increase in body temperature. When combined with chocolate (as is often the case) the symptoms only intensify.

6. Chrysanthemums

Photo by iStock.

These autumnal favorites are everywhere this time of year, but these popular flowers can cause dermatitis, vomiting, and incoordination in dogs and cats.

7. Garlic and Onions

This goes for everything in the garlic and onion family: leeks, chives, scallions, the works. Eating these veggies affects the red blood cells, which can cause anemia, organ failure, or death in dogs and cats. And be advised, toxicity can occur whether the products are fresh or concentrated in soup mixes and spices.

8. Amaryllis

Photo by iStock.

These beautiful plants are very common around Easter, but they're dangerous when ingested, causing tremors, hypersalivation (which is exactly what it sounds like), and intense abdominal pain.

9. Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause rapid kidney failure in your four-legged friend. For this food in particular, all animals are not affected the same way, and veterinarians still don't know what it is about grapes that makes dogs and cats sick. Either way, keep Mother Nature's fruit snacks away from your pet.

10. Anything moldy or rotten

Some mold contains life-threatening toxins that can harm your pet. Avoid giving your dog rotting food, and help them steer clear of road kill or rotting fruits and nuts from trees while you're outside. A good rule to remember here: If you wouldn't eat it, don't let them eat it.

Worried your pet ingested something poisonous? Call your vet.

When your dog ingests something poisonous, minutes count. Do not wait for symptoms to appear because in some cases, it may be too late.

Photo by Austin Community College/Flickr.

Pets become members of the family for good reason: They're loving, affectionate, playful, and bring out the best in us.

Mistakes can happen, but armed with knowledge, you're in the best position to keep your pet happy and healthy for years to come.

Photo by iStock.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

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Microsoft Office

This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


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