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The owners of a cocker spaniel have told how their beloved pet became addicted to licking poisonous toads for their mind-bending properties.

Laura Mirsch said her dog Lady returned to their new home from one binge at the local pond "disoriented and withdrawn, soporific and glassy-eyed".

Mirsch recounts Lady's nightmare plunge into toad dependence here at NPR, including a moving audio testimony.

She said: "We noticed Lady spending an awful lot of time down by the pond in our backyard. Late one night after I'd put the dogs out, Lady wouldn't come in. She finally staggered over to me from the cattails. She looked up at me, leaned her head over and opened her mouth like she was going to throw up, and out plopped this disgusting toad."

It quickly became clear that the incident was not a one-off party thing: this Lady had a problem.

Laura Mirsch said: "We couldn't keep our dog's addiction a secret any longer. The neighbours all knew that Lady was a drug addict, and soon the other dogs weren't allowed to play with her."

The toads put a brief stop to Lady's psychedelic explorations of canine perception by hibernating for the winter, but come spring she had not fully wrested herself from the demon grip of toad licking.

Thankfully for those who love her, Lady has learned to keep her addiction under control: her drug abuse has become purely recreational. Her rehabilitation now confines toad licking to weekends. ®

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