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Homeless camp accidentally gets Seattle man’s dog high

Charlie, the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel (Karl Straume)

Homeless campers stealing power from Lake City Autoworks isn’t the only thing General Manager Karl Straume worries about. He’s now keeping an eye on the ground. And so is his dog.

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Straume owns a 25-pound King Charles Cavalier Spaniel named Charlie. You can often find Charlie at the auto shop since Straume brings him to work every day. But since Seattle’s homelessness crisis has intensified, and spread to Lake City, Straume said he consistently sees various substances and paraphernalia scattered along the streets. Unfortunately, this includes on the path he used to enjoy walking Charlie.

A few months back, Straume took Charlie on a walk and unbeknownst to him, Charlie got into something.

“He’s doing his business and then all of a sudden he’s high,” Straum said.

The two were walking through an area wherecamping activity was prevalent, and roughly fifteen minutes later, Charlie began acting different. 

“Couldn’t stand up, falling over sideways, the kind of stuff which dogs don’t really do,” he said. “And then [Charlie] goes completely scared, tail between his legs, can’t and won’t leave my feet.”

Straum doesn’t know what his companion consumed, but noted that there’s often heroin needles lying around.

“It had to be something on the ground that he either sniffed or tasted,” Straume said.

Tracy May, who works at Eastlake Veterinary Hospital, said they’ve never dealt with a dog who has ingested heroin, but the symptoms do indicate something the dog wasn’t comfortable with.

“Dogs will do that sometimes if they ingest something and their stomach is upset,” she said. “They’re feeling pain or something they don’t understand and they’ll probably act scared like that because they don’t know what’s going on.”

Straume said it has actually happened twice. The first time, he rushed Charlie to the vet, where the doctors surmised some sort of drug. This was because the effects seemed to have worn off by the time Charlie arrived. Straume estimated the episodes lasted about an hour.  

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“After that, he’s kind of … hungover. You know, wants to sleep,” he said.  

Straume said neither he, nor Charlie, are eager to walk in the same areas. 

“He has his own special way to go,” Straume said. “He doesn’t go that way anymore.” 

The crime and dangerous activity occurring around Lake City has been well documented. Two weeks ago, the camp located behind the LA Fitness on 31st Avenue NE caught fire and was subsequently cleared, but business owners were skeptical a new one wouldn’t form around the same area. Sure enough, it moved just a block away 

The camps around Lake City Autoworks are notorious for drug use, and Straume, or his dog for that matter, reaped the consequences.  

 “It was scary for me because I didn’t want to lose him,” Straume said. “He’s a good little dog.” 

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