EXCERPT FROM AN UNEXPECTED FAMILY
She drew her hand to her throat.
Lazarus' entire body shook, and he collapsed on his hind legs.
"What is it?" She neared the cage door which stood slightly ajar. "What? How did this happen? Didn't I latch it?"
The dog slumped next to his bed and closed his eyes.
What was wrong? She walked into the enclosure and bent down. "Come on, fellow. Let's go outside."
Lazarus whined again but didn't open his eyes.
Kate rubbed his head but Lazarus only breathed hard. It wouldn't help anything to panic.
Something to her right caught her attention. Near the pantry, odd-shaped objects were scattered on the floor. She rose, left the cage, and picked one up, and then glanced around the kitchen. Farther to the right under the worktable, an open plastic bag lay in tatters. She gasped. The package of nuts she'd purchased for the caramel, chocolate macadamia tarts. She'd planned to make them this afternoon. She peered at the dog. "What is this? You know you're not supposed to come into the prep room."
Lazarus shuddered then whined but didn't open his eyes.
She wasn't taking any chances. "Okay, Laz. You're going to see Dr. Herriot."
Kate ran to the front door, flipped the sign to closed, and turned the lock.
Her car was behind the bakery. If she could get him into the backseat, she could transport him to the vet's office quickly.
She'd read how certain food items like macadamia nuts, raisins, and chocolate were poisonous to dogs, and she'd placed the bag on the table well out of his reach—or so she'd thought. Fear raced down her spine. Was Laz beyond help?
The door's rattle then the ding told Grant someone was at the front. He walked to the waiting room from the treatment area where he inventoried equipment. Leaving him in charge of the office while the doctor and Mrs. Herriot had gone for a late lunch boosted his confidence. One week on the job and Dr. Herriot trusted him.
On the sidewalk in front, a woman balancing a large golden retriever in her arms, struggled to come in.
Grant rushed toward the entrance and held the door. "Here, let me take the dog."
She released a breath and carefully slid the animal into his arms. "I need to see Dr. Herriot."
The retriever lay limp in his grip as he walked into the front office. "He and Mrs. Herriot went out for a late lunch." He offered a smile that he hoped reassured her he could provide care. "I'm Dr. Elliot, the new vet."
"Oh, I hadn't heard." She stroked the dog's head. "I'm Kate Klein, and this is Lazarus, a regular patient here. I'm afraid he can't walk."
"Hey, buddy. What happened?" Grant lugged the large pet toward the examining room. "Follow me, please."
He set Lazarus down on the metal table and turned to the young woman. "Do you have any idea what might be wrong?"
She gulped. "I just found evidence of macadamia nuts on the floor. He likely ate some."
"Do you know how many?"
"At least," she grasped her throat, "a third of an eight-ounce bag."
Grant patted the dog's head and pulled a penlight from his shirt pocket. "Okay, Lazarus. Let's take a look at your eyes."
The animal's eyelids drooped. "Lethargy, an indication of food poisoning." Grant reached for the rectal thermometer from the shelf. "Get a firm grip on him, please. He may object to getting his temperature taken."
Kate's bright blue eyes went wide, larger than the clock on the wall. She placed both hands on the dog's middle. A smudge of something white dotted her forehead and cheek.
Grant lubricated the end of the thermometer and slid it in place then smiled. Anything to relieve the lady's anxiety. "Did he consume anything else that you know of—chocolate, trail mix?"
"N… no, I don't believe so."
Maybe he could make her feel more relaxed if he got her to talk. "Lazarus is an interesting name. I'm sure there's a story behind that."
She nodded, apparently not trusting her voice.
Grant slid the thermometer out and checked it. "His body temperature is elevated. Considering you had to carry him, the dog's muscle weakness is a good indicator of toxicity."
"Is he going to be okay?" Her lips quivered.
"Almost all known cases where macadamia nuts were the only toxin ingested, the dogs recovered completely. I'd like to induce vomiting to rid his body of the poisons quicker. How much will does Lazarus weigh?"
"About seventy pounds." She glided her hand along a strand of long blond hair and brushed it out of her face.
"Hydrogen peroxide help him rid his stomach of the nuts. The sooner his intestines are cleared, the better."
ABOUT AN UNEXPECTED FAMILY
When bakery owner Kate Klein's dog eats macadamia nuts, she must get him to the local vet. Dr. Grant Elliot not only heals Lazarus but captivates Kate. But Kate and Grant must overcome the failures of their broken families before finding their way to each other and a new family.
ABOUT JUNE FOSTER
An award-winning author, June Foster is also a retired teacher with a BA in Education and an MA in counseling. She is the mother of two and a grandmother of ten. June began writing Christian romance in 2010. She penned her first novel on her Toshiba laptop as she and her husband traveled the US in their RV. Her adventures provide a rich source of information for her novels. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next book.
To date, June has written twenty-two contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels and novellas. She loves to compose stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find the freedom to live godly lives. She's published with Winged Publications. Visit June at www.junefoster.com to see a complete list of her books.
Social Media: https://www.amazon.com/author/junefoster
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