Stacey Zammit, 27, Truganina, Vic
I had only met Cleo, my adorable American staffy, for the first time on Christmas Day, three days earlier. Knowing I've always wanted a dog, my best mate Ralph bought her for me as a gift. 'I'm in love!' I beamed as she happily licked at my nose.
On December 28, I went to visit a mate at his workshop. Not long after, my friend spotted something over my shoulder. 'No Cleo, that's dangerous!' She'd woken up and licked at a car part with radiator fluid on it. The anti-freeze liquid is poisonous if consumed, but thankfully Cleo seemed fine.
'No Cleo, that's dangerous!'
Hours later though, Cleo started acting strangely. One minute she was playing happily, the next she was distressed and disoriented. I knew I had to get help right away.
Cleo had toxic poisoning and was at risk of kidney failure. Treating her would cost thousands of dollars. 'Whatever it takes,' I sobbed, gently stroking her tiny body. The vet advised me to go home while he attended to Cleo. It was heartbreaking saying goodbye but I did as I was told.
That night, I got a call. 'We're giving her vodka through a drip,' the vet said. Vodka? I thought I had misheard, but he explained the alcohol would flush the toxins from Cleo's body. It was the only thing that could save her.
I was stunned - but when I went to visit the next day, I saw it for myself. Having already consumed a whole bottle, my delightful little dog was drunk! If it wasn't such a serious situation, I'd almost have had to laugh. Her eyes were bloodshot and when I picked her up, she simply flopped in my arms.
Cleo stayed in the hospital until New Year's Eve and when she came home, she slept off her hangover. She'd drunk a bottle and a half in 72 hours - but thankfully, these days, she's back to her bubbly self.
It may have taken vodka to save Cleo's life, but there will be no 'hair of the dog' for this precious pooch. She'll be spending the rest of her days sober but in good spirits!